Exercises for foot drop

Updated May 10, 2017

Foot drop is a very frightening condition that results in the loss of control of one of your feet. As this condition progresses, running, movement and walking become limited as the foot becomes weaker. In most cases, foot drop is the result of a lumbar injury and the resulting pain and weakness impacts the foot. This is often known as sciatica, but medical professionals call this condition radiculopathy. Surgery is regularly needed before exercise therapy can restore full function.

Foot curls

Sit on a chair and bring both legs up so they are parallel to the floor. Hold on to the side of the chair with your hands. Curl your toes toward your midsection and hold the position for two seconds. Uncurl your toes. Do this 10 times, take a 30 second break and repeat the set.

Toe grip

Sit on a chair and grip the seat portion of your chair with your hands. Take your socks off so you are sitting with bare feet. Put a table tennis ball on the ground. Use your toes to try to grip the table tennis ball. Lift it up to knee height and then put it back on the floor. Do this 10 times, take a 30 second break and repeat the set. This will help bring back dexterity to your feet and toes

Calf raises

Once you have had surgery on your lower back to restore function, you will most likely need to build strength back in your feet, toes and ankles. One of the best ways to do this is with calf raises. Stand in the middle of a room (where you can't touch the walls) and raise up on your tip toes. Go back to a normal standing position. Try to work your way up to two sets of 20 toe raises. It could take three or four days before you can reach that level. This will build strength in the foot and leg along with restoring balance function.

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About the Author

Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.