Drop foot is a symptom of an underlying nerve, brain or muscular problem that causes weakness or paralysis in the muscles you use to lift your foot when you walk.
Drop foot can cause you to drag your toes along the ground while walking. In some cases you may raise your knee higher than normal when you step or you may swing your leg in a wide arc.
What causes drop foot?
Causes of drop foot can include muscle or nerve damage or skeletal abnormalities including:
- Sports injuries
- After hip or knee replacement surgery
- Long term diabetes (affecting nerves in your foot)
- Lower back problems
- Multiple sclerosis
- Stroke or tumour
- Motor neuron disease
How is drop foot treated?
Early treatment may increase your chances of recovery. Your GP may refer you to a foot and ankle consultant who may recommend wearing a light brace on your foot, shoe inserts (orthotics) or physiotherapy.
In severe cases your consultant may recommend surgery to repair or release a trapped nerve including spinal surgery to relieve lower back problems.
If your drop foot is considered permanent your consultant may recommend foot and ankle fusion to improve your gait and increase the stability in your foot.
Related tests and scans
Related treatments and procedures
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