Foot drop is a neuromuscular disorder. It is a condition that hinders a person's ability to control the mobility of the foot and leg. There are many reasons behind such a problem, but one thing that people often confuses with is that it is not any disease or permanent disorder that makes a person unable to move comfortably. It is an underlying condition that affects the nerves, but yes, if not treated timely, then it can become permanent.
The disorder makes it difficult to lift the front part of the foot. It damages the part of the brain controlling dorsiflexion, i.e. movement at the ankle joint that makes the leg to move or run smoothly. Foot drop affects the normal walking of a person. However, the condition gets better with regular exercise. Among different available methods, foot drop physiotherapy treatment is what makes a person to gain nerve senses and reconnects the mind with muscles.
Major causes of foot drop
Weakening of the muscles is the primary cause of foot drop. As soon as the condition becomes worst, muscles start deteriorating or losing control over the whole movement. Foot drop physiotherapy includes physical exercises that strengthen the muscles and help to regain the foot & ankle movements preventing the stiffness in the heels.
Brain or spinal disorder
Neurological disorder like cerebral palsy, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, stroke, and multiple sclerosis are some the reasons contributing towards the condition of foot drop.
Nerve injury: Injury is the most common reason for this condition. Nerve injuries affect the peroneal nerve that is responsible for the natural movement of leg and supplies sensation to the toes, ankle and the leg. Injuries make the nerve to get damaged easy as it is present close to the skin surface. Other conditions responsible for the numbness in the leg due to peroneal nerve damage are:
I. Diabetes: Diabetic patients are more susceptible to foot drop condition. Diabetic foot physiotherapy treatment includes passive and active exercises helping the brain nerves to regain the stimulation.
II. Sports Injuries: Persons performing heavy exercises are equally vulnerable to this condition. The peroneal nerve is a branch of the sciatic nerve that wraps the knee from the back of the leg. Any injury while performing a sports activity can badly create such a condition. Foot physiotherapy is what makes the ankle, toes and legs to develop responses for the external senses.
III. Knee replacement or injury: knee replacement or fractures often create such situation. When any bone/part of the knee gets damaged surgeons often replace that part with an artificial joint that is attached to the thigh bone, knee cap, and shin. Foot drop is the most common and often unexpected complication that occurs after the knee replacement surgery. Physiotherapy treatment for foot drop is considered to be the best way to overcome the foot drop condition. It includes the stretching exercises that may be painful for once, but if practised regularly can result in better conditions.
IV. Other causes can be heavy or burdensome exercises like squatting, childbirth and leg cast that may create deformities in the nerves making it difficult for the leg movement and hence resulting in foot drop.
How can it be treated?
Treatment for foot drop can be surgical and non-surgical depending on the age and the pain stimulations. It depends on the cause and the period for which the disorder has not been noticed or treated. The different methods to overcome the disease are:
Lightweight braces: These are used to support the ankle and the foot. Nowadays, foot braces are available in different styles that go with any shoe or sandal. The thing is early treatment helps to recover faster.
Surgery: In some instances where the deformity is permanent or has not been cured with proper treatment methods, surgery becomes an option to correct the disorder.
Shoe inserts: Scientifically developed orthotic devices are made, especially for patients suffering from paralysis or foot drop. They fit perfectly and are easy to install, supporting the ankle movements.
Physiotherapy: It improves the ability to feel the stimulations and hence to walk. This is the most appropriate way to correct the disorder and regain senses of muscles.
Sometimes, wrong footwear also creates discomfort while walking and doing other activities that make the feet more susceptible to pain. Another disorder that leads to the same condition is a flat foot. Flat foot condition is much more related to the foot drop. However, the flat foot can be by birth or due to some sports injuries.
Flat foot physiotherapy helps a patient to correct the feet posture and maintain the body balance. It can be painful to do therapeutic massage, foot gymnastic and other stretching exercises that are included with orthotic support, but the regular practice develops sensations making it easier to balance the body on feet by oneself. Being it any foot disorder like narrow feet, flat feet, foot drop, regular physical exercise with supportive equipment can do wonder for hailing the conditions. We provide both services of physiotherapy for flat foot and physiotherapy for foot drop. Consult our experts and get the best solution for your foot deformities.