Posted by: Thixia | June 20, 2008

Foot Drop

1.    Table of Contents

2.    What is Foot Drop?

3.    Is there any treatment?

4.    What is the prognosis?

5.    What research is being done?

 

What is Foot Drop?

Foot drop describes the inability to raise the front part of the foot due to weakness or paralysis of the muscles that lift the foot. As a result, individuals with foot drop scuff their toes along the ground or bend their knees to lift their foot higher than usual to avoid the scuffing, which causes what is called a “steppage” gait. Foot drop can be unilateral (affecting one foot) or bilateral (affecting both feet). Foot drop is a symptom of an underlying problem and is either temporary or permanent, depending on the cause.

Causes include:

neurodegenerative disorders of the brain that cause muscular problems, such as multiple sclerosis, stroke, and cerebral palsy;

motor neuron disorders such as polio,

some forms of spinal muscular atrophy and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease);

injury to the nerve roots, such as in spinal stenosis;

peripheral nerve disorders such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease or acquired peripheral neuropathy;

local compression or damage to the peroneal nerve as it passes across the fibular bone below the knee; and

muscle disorders, such as muscular dystrophy or myositis.

 

Is there any treatment?

 

Treatment depends on the specific cause of foot drop.

The most common treatment is to support the foot with light-weight leg braces and shoe inserts, called ankle-foot orthotics.

Exercise therapy to strengthen the muscles and maintain joint motion also helps to improve gait.

Devices that electrically stimulate the peroneal nerve during footfall are appropriate for a small number of individuals with foot drop.

In cases with permanent loss of movement, surgery that fuses the foot and ankle joint or that transfers tendons from stronger leg muscles is occasionally performed.

 

What is the prognosis?

 

The prognosis for foot drop depends on the cause. Foot drop caused by trauma or nerve damage usually shows partial or even complete recovery. For progressive neurological disorders, foot drop will be a symptom that is likely to continue as a lifelong disability, but it will not shorten life expectancy.

What research is being done?

 

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) conducts research related to the neurological conditions that cause foot drop in its laboratories at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and also supports additional research through grants to major medical institutions across the country. Much of this research focuses on finding better ways to prevent, treat, and ultimately cure the kinds of neurological disorders that cause foot drop.

 

 

Compliments of:

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

 

Prepared by:

Office of Communications and Public Liaison

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

National Institutes of Health

Bethesda, MD 20892

 

 

NINDS health-related material is provided for information purposes only and does not necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke or any other Federal agency. Advice on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patient’s medical history.

All NINDS-prepared information is in the public domain and may be freely copied. Credit to the NINDS or the NIH is appreciated.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: