Foot drop describes the inability to raise the front part of the foot due to weakness or paralysis of the muscles that lift the foot. As a result, individuals with foot drop scuff their toes along the ground or bend their knees to lift their foot higher than usual to avoid the scuffing, which causes what is called a “steppage” gait. Foot drop can be unilateral (affecting one foot) or bilateral (affecting both feet). Foot drop is a symptom of an underlying problem and is either temporary or permanent, depending on the cause. Causes include: neurodegenerative disorders of the brain that cause muscular problems, such as multiple sclerosis, stroke, and cerebral palsy; motor neuron disorders such as polio, some forms of spinal muscular atrophy and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease); injury to the nerve roots, such as in spinal stenosis; peripheral nerve disorders such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease or acquired peripheral neuropathy; local compression or damage to the peroneal nerve as it passes across the fibular bone below the knee; and muscle disorders, such as muscular dystrophy or myositis.
At our office we utilize the most current invasive and conservative techniques for dropfoot correction. To date we have performed all combinations of tendon transfer, joint fusion, and bone osteotomy to allow the patient to ambulate as normal as possible. Most times postoperatively no one can tell the patient ever had a dropfoot condition at all. We also understand that surgery is not for everyone and use nerve stimulation, physical therapy, and bracing as well to manage the dropfoot. We work closely with our orthopedic colleagues to address and other joint contractures and pathology such as knee procurvatum, knee recurvatum, developmental hip conditions, and arthritic conditions.