Foot drop syndrome is a neuromuscular disorder marked by weak muscles in the front of the lower leg. This can result in a partial or complete loss of foot control. This has an impact on the ability to lift the foot at the ankle. Damage to the nerve fibers that allow the ankle and toes to flex can result in various problems. When one’s foot is lifted off the ground, for example, the toes point down. When patients try to walk, their feet tend to drag along the ground. They compensate even more by raising the knee higher than usual.
Foot drop, rather than a ‘simple’ inability to raise the foot, is frequently the result of a significant underlying complication. A nerve injury, a spinal or brain disorder, or a muscle disorder can all cause it.
Foot drop can occur due to an injury or illness that impairs the function of the anterior tibialis muscle in the front of your shin. Catching your toes on the ground as you walk is a sign of foot drop. A physical therapist can use exercises and other treatments to treat the condition. The primary goal of physical therapy for foot drop is to increase functional mobility while walking. This can ensure that you can move around safely and may reduce your risk of falling.
Symptoms of Foot Drop
- Foot Drop makes it challenging to lift the front part of your foot, so your foot may drag on the floor if you walk normally. When walking, patients frequently compensate by raising their thighs to help their feet clear the floor. This unusual walking gait often causes patients to slam the involved foot onto the floor when stepping.
- Foot Drop usually only affects one foot. However, depending on the underlying cause, both feet may be affected.
- Foot Drop patients may experience numbness of the skin on the top of their foot and toes in some cases.
- Foot Drop is not a disease itself but rather a symptom of a more serious neurological, anatomical, or muscular issue.
- Foot Drop is often temporary, but for some people, it is permanent.
What Causes Foot Drop?
Foot drop is usually caused by weakness or paralysis on one side of the body, typically due to a brain or nerve condition. Foot drop can also be caused by nerve damage in your leg. Common causes of foot drop that may necessitate the performance of related exercises include, but are not limited to:
- spine or neck injury
- multiple sclerosis
Physiotherapy for Foot Drop
Your therapist will ask you questions about the nature of your injury, how your foot drop affects your life, and how long it has been present during your first physical therapy session.
During your initial appointment, you may be subjected to a variety of tests and measurements, including:
- range of motion in the feet and ankles (ROM)
- muscle strength in the lower extremities
Following are some treatment methods used:
The primary treatment for patients with foot drop is exercise. Exercises that strengthen the muscles in the foot and lower limbs help to maintain muscle tone. Such exercises will help to strengthen and stretch the foot while also restoring ankle mobility.
Stretching exercises are a great way to treat foot drops. Physical therapists will instruct patients to sit on the floor, wrap a towel around their foot, grab both ends of the towel, and gently pull the towel towards them. This helps to stretch the calf and foot muscles.
In some cases, physical therapists may recommend electrical nerve and muscle fiber stimulation to patients who have a foot drop. This helps to generate electrical impulses within the muscles, which can help to increase tone and contractility to some extent.
Balance and Proprioception
Proprioception is the ability of the body to sense movement and location. Foot drop may affect your balance, and these moves may help improve it. You can also use a BAPS board to help improve your balance and proprioception.
Elastic Band Around Legs
An elastic band that wraps around your leg and foot, stretching as you walk and pulling your foot up as you take a step forward: This is only a short-term solution for foot drop, but it may help normalize your gait pattern during the early stages of your rehabilitation.
During rehabilitation, your physical therapist can assess you and track your progress. Foot drop improvement can be slow at times, so stick with it. However, seek the guidance of an authentic physiotherapist with qualified experience in their field. To book an appointment with one of the top physiotherapists in Islamabad, contact Marham.pk.