What is Drop Foot and How Can It Be Treated?

Drop Foot is one of those conditions that essentially does exactly what the name describes - and those who have it know that it is brutal. Your mobility is halted, and suddenly getting from point A to point B becomes a monumental chore. 

There is good news though - there are plenty of products devoted to ensuring that Drop Foot doesn’t spell the end of your movement!

The good news is that we're about to explore the causes and symptoms of Drop Foot, the available treatment options, and the steps you can take to manage the condition effectively. Whether you're someone living with Drop Foot or simply interested in learning more about this condition, this article will provide you with valuable insights and information. So, let's dive in!

What is Drop Foot?

Drop Foot, also known as ‘foot drop’, is a condition where the muscles responsible for lifting the front part of the foot are weakened or paralyzed, causing the foot to drag on the ground while walking. Scary, right? 

This can lead to difficulty walking, tripping, and falls, which can have a significant impact on a person's mobility and quality of life. In this blog, we will discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatments for Drop Foot.

It may seem obvious if you suffer from Drop Foot, but surprisingly that’s not always the case! Here is the rundown of what it feels like: 

Symptoms of Drop Foot

As expected, the main symptom of Drop Foot is difficulty lifting the front part of the foot while walking. This can cause the toes to drag on the ground, making walking difficult on uneven surfaces or stairs.
In severe cases, the foot may hang limp or appear floppy, and the person may have difficulty controlling the foot or ankle. Drop Foot can affect one or both feet, and the severity of the symptoms can vary depending on the underlying cause.

Think you have Drop Foot? Be sure to ask your doctor for the next steps first, as some cases require medical intervention!

Causes of Drop Foot

There are many possible causes of Drop Foot, including:

Nerve Damage: Arguably one of the most common causes! Drop Foot can occur when the peroneal nerve, which controls the muscles responsible for lifting the foot, is damaged or compressed. This can be caused by injury, nerve entrapment, or a medical condition such as multiple sclerosis.

Muscle or Nerve Disorders: Conditions that affect the muscles or nerves, such as muscular dystrophy or Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, can also cause Drop Foot.

Brain or Spinal Cord Injury: Damage to the brain or spinal cord can affect the signals sent to the muscles, leading to Drop Foot.

Surgery: Surgery that involves the hip, knee, or foot can sometimes damage the nerves or muscles, which can cause Drop Foot.

Diabetes: High blood sugar levels can cause nerve damage, including the peroneal nerve, also leading to Drop Foot.

Traditional Treatments for Drop Foot

There are copious treatments for DF - all you need to do is choose the one that’s right for you! Here are the most common (and most effective) ways to handle this issue:

Physical Therapy: Strengthening exercises and stretches can help improve muscle function and mobility.

Nerve Stimulation: Electrical stimulation can be used to activate the muscles that lift the foot, improving gait and mobility.

Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary to repair damaged nerves or muscles.

Medications: Certain medications, such as muscle relaxants or nerve pain medications, may be prescribed to help manage symptoms.

The Best Foot Braces for Drop Foot

One of the most common treatments for Drop Foot is a foot brace, which luckily for you, we thrive in! Let’s get started: 

A foot brace is a medical device that supports the foot and ankle, keeping them in a neutral position and preventing them from dropping. There are various types of foot braces available, each designed to meet the specific needs of the individual. Some of the most common types of foot braces for Drop Foot include:

Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO)

An AFO is a rigid or semi-rigid brace that fits around the calf and foot, providing support and stability to the ankle and foot. It helps to keep the foot in a neutral position, preventing it from dropping and reducing the risk of tripping and falling.

Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) Brace

An FES brace is a different type of AFO that uses electrical stimulation to activate the muscles that lift the foot. The brace has electrodes that are placed on the skin, and when activated, they send electrical impulses to the muscles, causing them to contract and lift the foot. This is most commonly used in physical therapy. 

Dynamic Ankle Foot Orthosis (DAFO)

A DAFO is another type of AFO that is made of a flexible material, such as plastic or fabric. It allows for more movement in the ankle and foot, while still providing support and stability to prevent the foot from dropping.
Fun fact, our DFO Drop Foot Brace is non-irritating, copper-infused for bacterial prevention, and is perfect for 24/7 wear. It’s also great for Plantar Fasciitis! Overall an ideal option for curing Drop Foot (and looking great while doing it).

Solid Ankle Foot Orthosis (SAFO)

A SAFO is a rigid brace that provides maximum support and stability to the ankle and foot. This one is often used in cases of severe Drop Foot or when there is significant instability in the ankle joint.

Foot braces are typically prescribed by a doctor or physical therapist, who will evaluate the individual's specific needs and recommend the appropriate type of brace. 

Foot Brace Benefits

Wearing a foot brace has more benefits than just giving your foot a little extra support. They’re also perfect for:

Improved Mobility: A foot brace can help individuals walk more comfortably and with greater stability, reducing the risk of falls and improving overall mobility.

Pain Reduction: A foot brace can help reduce pain and discomfort caused by Drop Foot by providing support and reducing stress on the foot and ankle.

Increased Independence: With the help of a foot brace, individuals with Drop Foot can perform daily activities more easily and with greater independence, improving their quality of life.

Final Thoughts

With the right treatment and support, many people with Drop Foot are able to improve their mobility and live active, fulfilling lives. Don’t let Drop Foot drop your mood (get it? ahaha) - use a foot brace, get up, and get moving again! 

Again, please talk to your doctor first before you decide on any one method - and don’t forget to check out our website and blog!