Foot Drop Treatment and Symptoms

Foot drop syndrome can be extremely uncomfortable to live with and is often a symptom of an underlying problem. Thankfully, there are foot drop treatments that are able to help you walk comfortably and enjoy an active lifestyle again.

At The Institute of Advanced Reconstruction our expert doctors and foot drop specialist can get you a proper diagnosis and provide a cure for drop foot. It is important to recognize that foot drop syndrome is not a disease but rather a sign of neurological, muscular, or anatomical issues.

What is Foot Drop?

Foot drop is a term used to describe difficulty lifting the front of the foot. If you find that you are unable to lift the front of your foot, and that you are either dragging the toe of your shoe or walking only on your heel, you likely are experiencing foot drop.

What are the common causes of Foot Drop?

There are a number of different factors that can cause foot drop including:

Nerve Injury

One of the main causes of foot drop stem from problems with the nerve that controls movement of the foot (peroneal nerve). This nerve can become compressed where it leaves the spinal cord due to a herniated disc in the lumbar spine. Injury to this nerve can also result from a leg injury or during surgical procedures such as hip or knee replacement. When the peroneal nerve is injured, patients may also experience pain or numbness along the shin or top of the foot. A Peroneal Nerve Injury specialist can diagnose this neurological issue and provide a foot drop treatment plan around your ‘pinched nerve’ often found in the spine.

Traumatic Injury

Patients may experience foot drop syndrome after a traumatic injury. This can result from direct injury to the nerves, muscles or tendons involved in movement of the foot.

Muscle or Nerve Disorders

Foot drop can also be caused by nervous system disorders, such as diabetic neuropathy, and some muscle disorders, which progressively weaken or deteriorate muscles, such as muscular dystrophy or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease).

Brain and spinal cord disorders

Disorders affecting the brain or spinal may also cause dropped foot syndrome, including a tumor or stroke in the brain’s frontal lobe, multiple sclerosis (MS), cerebral palsy and Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.

What are some drop foot symptoms?

Symptoms of foot drop include muscle weakness and a tingling feeling in the leg. People experiencing drop foot syndrome will often find themselves having trouble lifting the front part of their foot. In some cases people are seen dragging their toes when they walk or lifting their knees higher than usual to avoid dragging their toes. 

If you are experiencing any of these drop foot symptoms it is imperative to consult with a doctor to diagnose you and provide the best treatment plan around your needs. Scheduling a drop foot medical exam can help you get back full use of your foot, improve mobility, and alleviate any nerve pain that you may be experiencing. 

What non-surgical treatments are available for drop foot?

Conservative treatment options for foot drop syndrome include braces or splits and physical therapy which can help alleviate pain and improve mobility. Another drop foot treatment option which may be beneficial is nerve stimulation, which can be done using an electric stimulation device.

What kind of doctor treats foot drop?

Depending on the cause of your foot drop you may be referred to a doctor who specializes in brain and nerve disorders. A peroneal nerve injury specialist or a neurologist would be certified to diagnose foot drop and can get you the help you require to maintain an active and comfortable lifestyle. 

At The Institute for Advanced Reconstruction we have foot drop doctors and specialists in-house that offer consultations and treatment options. 

What surgical treatments are offered at The Institute for Advanced Reconstruction for foot drop?

Our surgeons perform surgery to get to the root of the problem causing a patient’s foot drop.  Following a physical exam, additional testing may be needed to determine the cause of foot drop in order to develop the best treatment plan. Testing may include imaging studies such as x-rays, CT scan or an MRI to rule out any soft tissue or bone abnormalities that may be causing foot drop. Nerve tests, such as an EMG are used to identify damage of the affected nerve.

If the patient’s foot drop is indeed the result of nerve problems, their foot drop treatment would likely take the form of nerve surgery to relieve pressure on the nerve (nerve decompression surgery). If that type of surgery is not possible, nerve reconstruction, tendon transfer or alternative methods of reconstruction may be necessary to help return function. Your reconstructive surgeon will determine which surgical technique is needed in your specific case.

What are the benefits of foot drop surgery?

There are a multitude of benefits to foot drop surgery, and it starts with helping the patient get back full use of their foot. It will improve their mobility, as well as alleviate any nerve pain that they may have been experiencing. This drop foot surgery improves a patient’s quality of life, both mentally and physically, allowing them to return to their normal activities without worry or fear of further injury.

How long does it take to recover from foot drop?

Recovering from foot drop is dependent on the prognosis and outcome of the treatment plan provided by a doctor or specialist. Drop foot recovery can be expected in up to 3-4 months depending on the procedure or surgery required. Full recovery from a dropped foot is expected with most patients.

Request an Appointment for Your Drop Foot Medical Exam Today

At The Institute for Advanced Reconstruction we pride ourselves on being the ‘go to’ center for revolutionary nerve procedures with comprehensive surgeries and cures for drop foot. Our foot drop specialist and doctors provide drop foot medical exams so you can have a proper prognosis and get back full use of your foot.


Contact us today to learn more about your different treatment options and schedule a consultation for a drop foot medical exam with our specialist.

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