Causes of Foot Drop: Why Your Feet Are Flopping

Potential Causes of Foot DropIn just a couple of months we will be thinking about everything Christmas-related. In fact, it won’t be too long before the shelves in stores are stocked with red and green—seems to happen earlier every year! The Christmas season may send shivers down your spine as you anticipate hanging lights and the frustration of what happens when even one section has a problem—one burnt light and they all go out. In a similar way, when a nerve in your body has a problem, the effect can be widespread. This is the case with a condition called foot drop in which a nerve injury affects your ability to move your foot and ankle.

Foot drop is also called peroneal nerve injury. The peroneal nerves branch out from the sciatic nerve and supply sensation to the front and side of your legs and the top of your feet. They also supply the movement necessary to lift your toes and ankle upward—when these nerves are injured, the result is an inability to do exactly that. Further symptoms of a peroneal nerve injury include weakness, pain, numbness on the top of your foot or on your shin, and loss of function. When a patient is unable to lift the front part of the foot, it is common to see a high stepping walk, which is also called steppage gait—this is a natural response during walking. This condition can affect anyone at any age and there are several contributing factors, which include injury to the knee, regularly crossing your legs, joint dislocation or fracture, wearing high boots, having a tight plaster cast on your lower leg, and underlying disease such as Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis. Other causes of drop foot include sprained ankle and knee joint replacement.

We have several ways we can treat foot drop so you feel more stable when you walk and have no discomfort in your foot. We may use custom orthotics, foot splints, braces, and physical therapy to maximize your mobility. Contact Kevin J. Powers, DPM for further information or treatment. Dr. Powers is the only foot specialist who has special training and certification to perform drop foot surgery–just see what our patients have to say on our testimonials page. He is also a Fellow of the Association Of Extremity Nerve Surgeons and has had microsurgical training by the Mayo Clinic. You can reach our office in Bloomington, IN, by calling (812) 333-4422 or contact us through our website.