What is it?
Foot drop is a simple term which covers a potentially complex problem. It can be caused by various factors including: dorsiflexors injuries (dorsiflexors are the muscles which pull the foot up), peripheral nerve (a nerve outside of the brain and spinal cord) injuries, CVA (stroke), diabetes.
There are a range of symptoms associated with foot drop which will depend on how severe it is. These include: difficulty in lifting the front part of the foot, dragging the foot on the floor when walking, increased bending of the hip and knee when swinging the leg through when walking (called a high stepping gait), a “slapping” of the foot after it first contacts the floor (called foot-slap), pain, weakness or numbness in the foot.
Treatment will vary depending on how severe the foot drop is. Options include:
• Posterior leaf spring AFO will position the foot in a neutral position relative to the leg and provide a lifting assistance to the foot as the leg swings through.
• Fixed ankle AFO where there is increased instability of the foot and ankle and more controlling forces are needed to improve foot and ankle biomechanics.
• Jointed AFO when it is advantageous to keep certain movements of the ankle joint whilst controlling/resisting unwanted movements.