Drop foot or foot drop is a neuromuscular disorder that inhibits the ability to raise the foot. Drop foot prevents the patient from being able to point the toes toward their body. It also makes it difficult to move the foot inward or outward from the ankle. This disorder makes it difficult to walk because the patient is unable to control the ankle. It usually results in the patient scuffing toes every time they put their foot down. This leads patients to develop an exaggerated walk called steppage gait or footdrop gait. Steppage gait involves taking extremely high steps to avoid scuffing toes.
Symptoms of drop foot may affect one or both of the feet:
- Dragging the front of the foot while walking
- Unable to move foot at the ankle
- Difficulty walking in the traditional heel-to-toe movement
- Pain or numbness at the top of the foot
- Steppage gait or exaggerated walk where the patient raises their leg, so the toes do not drag.
This disorder may be temporary or permanent depending on its cause.
The following are all possible causes of drop foot:
- Neurodegenerative disorders of the brain: multiple sclerosis, stroke and cerebral palsy
- Motor neuron disorders: polio, spinal muscular atrophy, Lou Gehrig’s disease
- Injury to the nerve roots: spinal stenosis
- Peripheral nerve disorders: Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease and acquired peripheral neuropathy
- Damage to the peroneal nerve
- Muscular dystrophy
If you are having difficulty moving your foot from the ankle, you may have drop foot. Brain2Spine Institute can help you find the cause and treat your drop foot. Call (727) 351-6902.