More than any form of transportation, you rely on your feet to take you where you need to go. Without them, life becomes a constant uphill battle.
And if you have drop foot — a condition in which you can’t raise the front part of one or both feet — you know just how difficult daily tasks are without two working feet.
Fortunately, our team of board-certified experts at the US Neuropathy Centers specializes in a wide range of conditions, including drop foot.
Here, we take a behind-the-scenes look at this potentially debilitating condition to help you understand why you have drop foot and show you how you can find your footing once more.
Your body comes equipped with a communication system made up of a complex network of nerves. Each nerve is responsible for sending and receiving messages between your brain and various parts of your body.
When this communication system is interrupted, disorders like drop foot occur. Here are the nerve problems and health conditions that can cause drop foot.
The peroneal nerve located in your lower leg controls feeling and movement in your lower extremities. If this nerve becomes pinched, injured, or damaged, you can lose feeling and function and develop drop foot.
Drop foot may also stem from a variety of medical conditions and diseases that affect your nervous and muscular system. These include:
Diabetics, who are at an increased risk for nerve damage, are also more susceptible to drop foot.
We diagnose drop foot through a simple physical exam, during which we evaluate your lower extremities for weakness and numbness. If we suspect compression on the peroneal nerve, we may order an X-ray, ultrasound, or MRI scan to confirm that it’s the cause of your drop foot.
Other diagnostic tools, such as electromyography (EMG) and other nerve conduction tests, allow us to accurately assess the amount of electrical activity in your muscles and nerves, which helps us determine the location of the nerve damage.
Once we’ve diagnosed drop foot, we begin creating your customized treatment plan. Depending on your needs and the severity of your condition, we may recommend specialized treatments, conservative methods, or a combination of both.
We often prescribe physical therapy and/or nerve stimulation to strengthen your muscles, improve your mobility, and help you gain a better quality of life.
If those methods prove ineffective or if your drop foot is severe, we may recommend nerve decompression or tendon transfer surgery.
The best thing you can do to help your drop foot at home is to follow our team’s instructions, especially if we fit you for a brace or splint. If physical therapy is a part of your treatment plan, we’ll likely give you instructions for at-home stretches and exercises.
Because drop foot significantly increases your risks of tripping and falling, it’s important that you keep your walkways and stairways clear and well-lit.
If you’d like more information, or if you’d like us to evaluate you for drop foot, don’t hesitate to request an appointment at our Marietta, Georgia, office today.