The Vault

Lumbar Spine
The Lumbar Spine: Anatomy, Function, and Common Injuries
July 12, 2017
Sacroiliac Joint
The Sacroiliac Joint: Anatomy, Function, and Common Conditions
July 17, 2017
Foot drop syndrome

Foot Drop Syndrome occurs because of weakness in the muscles that flex and ankle and toes. The problem interferes with an individual’s ability to take a natural step causing the front of the foot to drag. Foot Drop is a neuromuscular problem affecting the anterior tibialis, extensor digitorum longus, and extensor halluces longus muscles, and is frequently a side effect of another condition. People who experience foot drop attempt to counteract it by lifting the knee higher than in a normal walking pattern.

Some of the distinguishing features of foot drop are:

  • If connected with a lumbar disc herniation, it may improve or resolve as the disk heals
  • The ailment may occur with or without pain
  • It may result in a decrease in balance and could make it difficult to walk without some assistance
  • The problem may show up in one or both feet

The most frequent symptoms of foot drop include:

  • Inability to lift the foot at the ankle, causing the individual to scrape or drag the foot and toes. An individual often swings their hip outward to avoid catching their foot on the ground
  • Decrease in muscle size and strength in the lower leg
  • Mild foot pain, tingling, or numbness
  • An inability to perform movements that involve using the front half of the foot

A physiatrist, orthopedic surgeon, or neurosurgeon will diagnose foot drop. The Specialist will review medical history, examine gait patterns, and assess the affected leg for changes muscle size, strength, and function. An MRI, EMG, and lab work aids in determining the root of the problem.

Treatment for foot drop starts with physical therapy for strengthening and bracing of the affected area. If the condition is the result of a low back issue, corticosteroid injections may reduce pain, but the individual may require surgery. Surgical choices include spinal fusion, kyphoplasty, or vertebroplasty, depending on the problem’s source.

If you are experiencing foot drop and would like to learn about treatment options, please call our New Braunfels or Seguin offices.

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