Foot drop or drop foot involves abnormal difficulties in raising the foot. This is considered as a symptom that can be instigated by several factors including muscular disorders, nerve damage or central nervous diseases such as stroke, muscular dystrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or multiple sclerosis. It is best to consult a doctor right away if the individual develops any of the symptoms of foot drop since this condition is often indicative of a severe underlying medical condition.
Difficulty lifting the foot
A main symptom linked with foot drop includes difficulty lifting the front part of the foot. Take note that this symptom usually develops due to damage or injury on the peroneal nerve which is a spinal nerve situated in the lower part of the back that control movements of the foot.
This makes it difficult for the individual to control the foot that can lead to dragging of the foot along the floor in an attempt to walk normally. Always bear in mind that foot drop generally affects only one foot but can develop symptoms in both feet depending on the source of the symptoms. In some cases, this symptom is the only indication of foot drop.
Difficulty pointing the toes
If an individual is suspected with foot drop, he/she might be unable to point the toes toward the body which is known as a normal reflex called as dorsiflexion. Those who are suffering from foot drop also find it difficult to bend the ankle in a normal manner. Once this occurs, the individual will start to slap abnormally the foot against the floor when he/she takes a step to walk.
In addition, the individual will also develop foot drop gait which is a condition in which the thigh is raised in an abnormally high manner when he/she walks, resulting to the development of a high step walk.
Weakness, numbness and pain
Always bear in mind that foot drop can also trigger the manifestation of additional sensory symptoms in some individuals. Some can experience mild to severe symptoms of aching or piercing pain inside the affected foot. These symptoms can also be accompanied by sensation of numbness or weakness within the affected foot. Take note that these symptoms can further contribute to walking difficulties. By enrolling in a first aid class, you can learn ways to manage these symptoms.
When to consult a doctor
If foot drop is suspected, it is best to seek medical assessment so that the exact cause of the condition can be determined. In most cases, the testing involves electromyography nerve studies and MRI. In case there are apparent indicators of the condition upon physical examination, it would require specific examination by a specialist.
As for the treatment options, it must be discussed with a doctor. Since the cause is usually an underlying medical condition, the treatment focuses on managing the condition first so that the symptoms can be controlled.