What is Dropped Foot?

Drop foot is the inability to lift the foot and toes properly when walking. It is caused by weakness or paralysis of the muscles that lift the foot. This is often caused by the missing correct signals from the brain to the nerves controlling the muscles in the lower leg. It is therefore often present in combination with other body and joint problems contributing to an impaired gait pattern including Multiple Sclerosis, Stroke, incomplete spinal injury and Head injury.

People with drop foot tend to scuff their toes along the ground, so they may lift their foot higher than usual using their pelvis or trunk, or swing the leg from the hip when walking to prevent this. Such compensations can have a negative impact on walking speed, efficiency and balance. Walking with drop foot can therefore require full concentration and greater effort.

At ON Physio we will carry out a detailed assessment looking to establish the cause of your foot drop and how it is affecting your walking and function. We will then decide, with you, the best intervention to correct the footdrop. Options include gait retraining, provision of ankle foot orthoses (AFO), exercise, spasticity intervention and functional electrical stimulation.

Functional Electrical Stimulation FES

FES is a technique used to produce contractions in paralysed muscles by the application of small pulses of electrical stimulation to nerves that supply the paralysed muscle. The stimulation is controlled in such a way that the movement produced provides useful function. FES is used as an aid to assist walking and also as a means of practicing functional movements for therapeutic benefit.