What is drop foot?
Drop foot refers to a weakness in the muscles of the foot which compromises the ability to flex the ankles and toes, resulting in the front of the foot dragging and increasing the risk of trips and falls which can lead to more serious injuries.
In terms of origin, it is thought that the condition stems from disease or damage to the brain or spinal cord such as a stroke, cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy. Other theories consider damage to nerves in the leg attributing to the condition.
Recovery from drop foot is dependent on the root cause of the condition, where injury based origins have higher chances compared to brain, spinal cord or nerve damage.
Ankle Foot Orthosis
A foot orthosis is designed to give the sufferer control of their foot back by preventing the foot from dropping, thereby reducing the risk or injury or falling. These supports simply attach to your ankle and connect to your foot, with some options being shoeless to hide its appearance during the summer months. The device itself simply prevents the foot from dropping, by holding your ankle at 90 degrees, a simple concept which can be very effective. As the orthosis needs to be worn constantly it is important to ensure that the contraption does not irritate the skin, therefore you should check regularly and if the problem persists then you should consult your clinician.
Other orthosis options include ‘L’ shaped inserts which sit on the calf and underneath the foot to stop the foot from dropping.
Physiotherapy works to rebuild strength in an affected area of the body and offer a greater range of motion for the patient. In the case of the drop foot it works to give the patient greater control over the movements of their foot to enhance aid mobility.
Injuries and conditions affect us all differently, which is why your physiotherapist will work with you on a tailored treatment programme to offer the greatest benefits and help to reach achievable goals.
Electrical Stimulation Devices
These devices can be both invasive and non-invasive and work by distributing an electrical pulse to the relevant nerves and muscles when walking, powered by a portable batter pack. It effectively works to mimic the normal movement of walking with the electrical pulse forcing the muscles to work naturally and thus counteract the signs of drop foot.
There are a variety of products available and not every one of them is universal, therefore you should seek to test each option available to find one which will offer you the greatest set of benefits.
If you have AFO pain get in touch with us today to book an appointment. Alternatively, you can use our unique code to get a discount from the Ossur Webshop CLINIC1001