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How to Help Drop Foot

Damage to the peroneal nerve is the most common cause of Drop Foot, or Foot Drop, a condition that leaves you unable to rotate your feet at the ankle or point your toes away from, or toward, your body. The way you walk may also be affected; many sufferers are only able to do so by dragging their feet or by lifting them too high as they step. Help is available if you are seeking assistance with Drop Foot.

Purchase foot aids. A variety of foot aids are available to help with rehabilitation or prevention of Drop Foot. In addition to commonly used foot splints, braces and guards, you can buy foot elevators, blanket lifters, bed cradles and ankle boots designed to stabilise the foot or counter Drop Foot symptoms.

Participate in physical therapy. Regular physical therapy sessions, where exercise and gait training are used to improve walking, can prove to be helpful to sufferers of Drop Foot.

Use a nerve stimulator. Battery-operated, or implanted, electrical stimulators can be used to energise and reactivate the peroneal nerve, allowing you to control foot and ankle movement.

Schedule surgery. A variety of surgical options are available to relieve Drop Foot symptoms, whether they are primary procedures like decompression, nerve grafting or transfer, or secondary options like tendon transfer. A discectomy, which is the removal of a spinal disc, may also be beneficial if Drop Foot is caused by compression of a lumbar herniated disc.

Warning

Once you notice symptoms of Drop Foot, take immediate action, particularly if surgery is your treatment of choice. If you wait longer than eight months to seek treatment, nerve surgery reconstruction is considered impossible. Six months or less is the recommended amount of time to schedule your operation.

Things You'll Need

  • Foot aids
  • Physical therapist
  • Nerve stimulator
  • Medical doctor
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About the Author

Adeeba Folami is a freelance journalist residing in Denver, Colo. She was first published professionally in 1994. Folami's work has appeared in many publications, including "Denver Weekly News," "Afro American Newspapers," "Louisiana Weekly," "Dallas Weekly," "Mississippi Link," and "OpEd News."