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Foot drop

Introduction to Foot drop

Foot drop describes difficulty or an inability to lift the foot or toes which can cause problems walking and standing. Foot drop may be caused by different reasons including:

  • Damage to the central nervous system (brain or spinal cord) e.g. stroke, multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injury.
  • Damage to the peripheral nervous system (nerves exiting the spinal cord) e.g. spinal disc protrusion, damage to the peroneal nerve or sciatic nerve.
  • Neuromuscular disease e.g. muscular dystrophy
  • Genetic conditions such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease

Damage to the central nervous system and peripheral nerves impairs the transmission of nerve impulses to the muscle which lifts the foot. More rarely is the problem with the actual muscle itself.

Diagnosis is usually made by a neurologist following a physical examination and history of your symptoms. Other tests such as MRI scans or electromyography may be used to establish the underlying cause of the condition and establish if there are any treatable causes.

Physiotherapy treatment can help to reduce the impact of foot drop by providing advice on exercises to strengthen the muscles and orthotics to help lift the foot to reduce the effort of walking and reduce the risk of falls.

Foot drop

To book an assessment or for more information please email call 0161 883 0066 .