Orthopedic & Wellness Center Blog

What Causes Drop Foot (Foot Drop) and Steppage Gait (Footdrop Gait)?

Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Blog Snapshot:
  • Drop foot is a condition that is characterized by an inability to manipulate the toes or ankles of a foot.
  • This condition can prevent a person from raising their foot at the ankle, pointing their toes, or moving their ankle inward and outward.
  • The specialists at Orthopedic & Wellness explain what causes drop foot.
     
Drop foot is a medical term that describes a type of injury to the peroneal nerve, which is connected to the sciatic nerve. This condition can cause pain, weakness, numbness, and a loss of function in the foot. Depending on the severity of the condition, drop foot may result in an inability to:
 
  • Raise the foot above the ankle
  • Point the toes toward the body
  • Move the ankles
     
People affected by this condition often have a high-stepping walk, which is also called a steppage gait or footdrop gait. Most people assume an issue with the foot causes this condition, but it’s actually caused by an underlying condition or injury to the spine. Common causes of drop foot and steppage gait include:
 
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Complications from hip, knee, or joint replacement surgery
  • Herniated disc
  • Spinal fracture
  • Sciatica
     
Before treatment can be administered for drop foot, physicians at Orthopedic & Wellness must first diagnose the condition. During this process, physicians generally perform a comprehensive physical examination, review the patient’s medical history, administer neurological evaluations, and order diagnostic imaging tests. After these tests have been administered, a treatment plan will be developed.
 
Treatment depends on the cause and severity of the condition, but generally speaking, pain management may be the first line of treatment. Your Orthopedic & Wellness physician will also want to treat the underlying condition before outfitting the patient with a brace or splint, or recommending physical therapy. Surgery may be an option for patients who suffer from drop foot due to a spinal condition. In these cases, a minimally invasive surgery will be performed.
 
Call Orthopedic & Wellness today to meet with a physician to discuss your options. The team of expert surgeons will walk you through your treatment options and help you select the one that’s right for you. Call today!
 
At Orthopedic & Wellness, we are committed to a minimally invasive approach to promote efficient pain control, higher functioning, and better quality of life! If you or someone you love is suffering from chronic pain, orthopedic, neurosurgical or spine issues don't hesitate to make an appointment by calling 240-629-3939.
We hope to see you soon!
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The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.