Foot drop is a condition that is characterized by the inability of a person to flex or move their ankle and toe muscles effectively This results in a person dragging their toes over the ground and walking with an added effort in their gait. This is usually brought on by the paralysis of the muscles in that section of the foot. There are several reasons that bring on this foot problem. These could be due to certain disorders of the mind (cerebral palsy), heart disease or stroke, or certain others that have to do with motor neuron functions (polio, spinal stenosis).
Since a person has lost the ability to lift the foot in an easy movement as is usually done, they need to put in more effort at the hip level and bend the knees in an unnatural way to walk in order to prevent the pain that emanates. Their basic movement of walking is thwarted and therefore a person finds it difficult to walk and takes to dragging their toes which further causes them to trip and fall. Or they might swing their legs out to prevent the dragging. This condition can affect one or both feet and can be a temporary or permanent condition. Since neither the dragging nor the swinging actions are natural, there is a need to correct this condition. This can be achieved by adopting foot drop treatment forms.
Other than administering pain killers for the pain that ensues, there are several forms of treatment that are adopted in correcting this condition and the ensuing toe pain that follows. Given below are some of the treatment forms.
Foot drop braces are one of the widely used treatment forms. These concentrate on providing support to the patient's foot such that he is able to lift his foot better and higher and does not have to scuffle his toes along the ground, and neither does he have to swing his legs out. It allows him additional support so that he does not stumble and fall while walking. It also lessens the leg pain and discomfort by acting on the shock absorber mechanism. There are several forms of braces that are used and these range from soft foot drop brace, posterior leaf brace, solid ankle brace, energy return brace to several others. A closer inspection of the foot and the severity of the condition will determine the kind of brace that an orthopedic doctor will prescribe.
The peroneal nerve is responsible for the 'lifting' motion of the foot, therefore a stimulation of this nerve can work as an effective remedy. This is either achieved by manual stimulation or by fitting a battery-operated stimulator. This stimulator is strapped below the knee or is implanted in the leg(s).
There are several foot drop exercises that can be administered as well. These range from simple leg exercises to other, more complex forms. These exercises concentrate on restoring the dexterity, strength and flexibility of the foot and toes, and help in restoring the health of the toes. These then allow the toes to gather more strength and make them possible to work.
When all the options are exhausted and nothing seems to help, then surgery is looked upon as the final option. This cure for foot drop is usually used in cases when the foot drop condition is permanent. Depending on the severity of the condition, the kind of surgery is determined. It could either involve fusing the foot and ankle bones together or transferring the tendons for correcting walking difficulties.
It is important not to neglect any pain that you feel in the foot. In case you ever experience something like this, make sure that you consult a doctor immediately and have a check up done. This will ensure that the condition does not worsen.