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What Is Foot Drop? Foot Drop Causes and Treatment - Brace Direct

Foot Drop: Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

What is Foot Drop?

What is Drop Foot? A medical diagram by Brace Direct

Foot drop, also known as drop foot, is a general term for difficulty lifting the front part of the foot. It's not a disease, but rather a neurological, muscular, or anatomical disorder that might indicate an underlying problem. Individuals with foot drop experience challenges in walking, as the inability to lift the foot properly can cause it to drag on the ground, potentially leading to trips and falls.

What Causes Drop Foot?

  • Neurological disorders, such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS) or Cerebral Palsy (CP).
  • Neuropathy, particularly peroneal neuropathy or sciatic nerve damage.
  • Motor neuron issues, like those associated with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
  • Muscle or nerve injuries or disorders, including those due to hip or knee replacement surgery.
  • Any condition that compresses the nerve pathway responsible for controlling the muscles involved in lifting the foot.

What are Signs and Symptoms of Foot Drop?

The hallmark sign of foot drop is an unusual gait characterized by the inability to raise the front part of the foot off the ground. As a result, the toes drag along the ground while walking. Individuals with foot drop may compensate by lifting their knees higher than usual, known as a high steppage gait, to avoid dragging the toes. Other symptoms may include numbness in the foot, a slapping sound with each step, and general weakness in the foot or ankle.

What Treatment Options Are Available for Foot Drop?

Treating foot drop often involves a combination of medical and non-medical approaches aimed at improving mobility and preventing complications. The treatment choice largely depends on the underlying cause of the condition.

Medical Treatments:

Non-Medical Treatments:

  • Activity modification to avoid actions that may exacerbate the condition.
  • Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO) and other bracing techniques to improve walking.
  • Night splints to keep the foot in a proper position.
  • Regular exercise and stretching to maintain range of motion and muscle strength.

Is Foot Drop Permanent?

Is Drop Foot Permanent? Brace Direct answers!

The permanence of foot drop largely depends on its underlying cause. Conditions such as neuropathy due to surgery or injury may lead to temporary foot drop, which could improve with appropriate treatment. However, foot drop resulting from chronic neurological conditions like Multiple Sclerosis might be more persistent. Early diagnosis and intervention are key to managing the condition and improving outcomes.


Foot drop doesn't have to limit your mobility or quality of life. With the right approach, including the use of supportive devices like AFOs and night splints, many individuals manage the condition effectively. Understanding your condition, exploring treatment options, and using aids designed to improve your walking can significantly enhance your independence and safety.

Struggling with foot drop? Brace Direct offers a range of products tailored to support and manage foot drop, helping you regain confidence in your mobility. From Leaf Spring AFOs to Comfort Padded Night Splints, find the perfect solution for your needs. Visit our Contact Us page for personalized advice, or explore our range to learn more about how we can help you tackle foot drop effectively.

Experience improved mobility and comfort—because every step matters. #BraceDirect

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