Some call it drop foot. Some call it foot drop. But everyone calls it frustrating. This condition makes it almost impossible to walk normally, which is both exasperating and embarrassing.
The good news? You have options.
Drs. Stephen Barrett and Sequioa DuCasse at US Neuropathy Centers in Marietta, Georgia, have many years of experience addressing drop foot, and we know that treatment is not one-size-fits-all.
We thoroughly review your health history, symptoms, and goals and use that information to create a treatment plan for you.
Drop foot treatment options
Treatment for drop foot relies heavily on what's causing it, such as nerve compression, diabetes, or multiple sclerosis.
Often, if we address the underlying cause, drop foot improves or disappears altogether. If we can’t treat the cause, drop foot may be a permanent problem that you have to manage.
Depending on your needs and circumstances, we may recommend one or more of the following options.
Bracing and splinting
Bracing and splinting may be enough to improve mild cases of drop foot. We place a rigid brace on your foot or ankle to hold your foot in a normal position, keeping it from dragging as you walk.
Strong leg muscles go a long way in helping you walk normally. So we often recommend physical therapy exercises to strengthen your leg muscles and encourage proper range of motion in your knees and ankles.
These exercises also improve your gait and work out the stiffness in your calves and heels.
Peripheral nerve stimulation corrects your gait, improves mobility, and, as a result, improves your quality of life — all without having to undergo a major operation. It works best for drop foot that stems from a nerve problem.
The minimally invasive technique involves implanting a small temporary electrode near your malfunctioning nerve. The wire delivers short electrical pulses to the affected nerve, which triggers muscle contractions involved in raising your foot.
If the temporary electrode proves effective, we place a permanent device with a wire that leads to a small external power source you control with a hand-held remote.
If conservative measures fail, we discuss surgery. Surgery can be frightening, but we use as minimally invasive techniques as possible.
We can perform a nerve decompression procedure to relieve pressure on the nerve causing drop foot, or for more severe cases, we recommend a tendon transfer surgery to improve the strength and stability of your ankle.
Your role at home
Because drop foot makes tripping and falling a matter of when not if, take precautions to keep yourself safe:
- Clear clutter from your floors
- Ditch throw rugs
- Remove electrical cords from walkways
- Keep stairs and walkways well-lit
If you'd like more information about drop foot and how to treat it, don't hesitate to call our friendly staff at 404-228-9892 or use our online booking tool to schedule an appointment at our Marietta, Georgia, office.