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Understanding Drop Foot

Drop foot, also known as foot drop, is not just an occasional misstep. It’s a problem related to your nerves, muscles, or other anatomy that makes it hard or impossible to properly lift your foot while walking. It may only be a temporary condition, or it may be something you live with permanently.

Either way, our team of expert engineers at Ortho Engineering can create a custom orthotic or brace to help you function better. We have six locations throughout Southern California, and our team members are available all day, every day, all year round. Here’s what you need to know about drop foot and how we can help.

How to recognize drop foot

In the simplest terms, drop foot is a weakness or paralysis that prevents you from lifting your foot. You may or may not also feel tingling or numbness on the top of your foot or in your toes. 

In order to lift the foot, those with drop foot typically call upon their leg muscles to do the job as you would when you walk up stairs, which results in an abnormal gait. Lack of nerve or muscle control also tends to make the foot slap the ground with each step.

Causes of drop foot

There are a few different causes of drop foot, with diabetes leading the pack. Because nerve damage is prevalent with diabetes, especially in the lower extremities, the two conditions sometimes go hand-in-hand. 

Nerve damage

Diabetes, of course, isn’t the only thing that can damage or irritate nerves. Any surgery that involves the peroneal nerve (think: hip replacement and knee replacement), the one that allows you to lift your foot, can cause this problem. Certain spinal conditions or injuries can also lead to drop foot if there’s a compressed nerve root.

Muscle disorders

Muscular dystrophy is often associated with drop foot, because it weakens the muscles. Tibial muscular dystrophy, in particular, involves progressive atrophy in the foot and ankle muscles, which leads to drop foot. 

Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a spectrum of nerve disorders, is also known to cause foot drop, as the muscles weaken and the toes begin to point downward.

Brain disorders

Any condition that affects your brain and spinal cord can contribute to foot drop. Stroke, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and multiple sclerosis are common causes.

Common activities

Serious health conditions are not the only culprits when it comes to drop foot. You may be at risk if you perform activities that impact your peroneal nerve, such as: kneeling, sitting cross-legged, or wearing a cast on your broken leg. 

Bracing for foot drop

Whether your foot drop condition is temporary or permanent, our custom orthotics and braces can help you overcome the symptoms for as long as you need them. 

Depending on your unique set of circumstances, you might need:

All our products are made to fit you perfectly and maximize your comfort and mobility. There’s no need to live life with the challenges of foot drop. Call any of our Southern California locations today to find out how we can help you overcome your symptoms and get your stride back.

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