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Foot Drop: Warning Signs, Symptoms, and Causes

Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju
Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju

Our mobility and movement are essential components of our lives, which ensures our productivity and performance throughout the day. As soon as something happens to our feet, we need to take care of them first, diagnose the problem and determine the treatment.

So, one of the problems associated with the legs is foot drop. This disorder has the following characteristics: difficulty standing, walking, and lifting the leg. Such a disease can occur both suddenly and gradually.

Our article will tell you about the first signs signaling the onset of the disease, symptoms, causes of the onset, and methods of treating foot drop.

 

What Is Foot Drop?

Foot drop is a condition that prevents the affected individual from being able to raise the front part of their foot. This can make it difficult or impossible to walk on your toes. Some people with foot drop may also have difficulty moving their ankles or bending their knees. 

Foot drop is usually caused by nerve damage or muscle weakness. You can treat this disease with physical therapy, braces, or surgery. This disease can occur in 19 people out of 100,000. It is most often diagnosed in men.

This disease is considered a serious ailment that can greatly affect your routine. Therefore, it is very important to see a doctor as soon as you notice that you are having problems moving or operating your legs.

 

What Are the Symptoms of Foot Drop?

Symptoms of foot drop

The most common symptom of foot drop is difficulty raising the front part of your foot. This can make it difficult to walk on your toes. Other symptoms of foot drop may include: 

  • Difficulty moving your ankle.
  • Difficulty bending your knee.
  • Dragging your toe when you walk.
  • A high steppage gait (a way of walking where you lift your leg high to clear your foot).
  • Pain in your leg, hip, or back.
  • Muscle weakness in your leg.
  • Numbness in your leg.
  • Tingling in your leg.

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor so that they can diagnose the cause and recommend treatment options.

 

Early Warning Signs of Foot Drop

Because a variety of conditions can cause foot drop, the early warning signs may vary depending on the underlying cause. However, there are some common early warning signs of foot drop that you should be aware of, including: 

  • Difficulty lifting your foot when walking or climbing stairs.
  • Dragging your foot when you walk.
  • Tripping or stumbling more often than usual. 
  • Pain in your leg, hip, or back.
  • Numbness or tingling in your leg or foot.

 

Drop Foot Causes

The most common causes include the following: 

  • Nerve injury. The most common cause of foot drop is nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy). This damage usually occurs in the nerve that runs from your thigh to your shin (peroneal nerve). The peroneal nerve controls the muscles on the outside of your shin and the top of your foot, which lift your foot when you walk. Nerve damage from diabetes is a common cause of this type of nerve injury. Other causes include injury to your leg or hip, certain types of surgery, and radiation therapy for cancer. 
  • Muscle weakness or paralysis. Lou Gehrig’s disease, muscular dystrophy, polio, and other conditions that damage the nervous system can cause this disease. Also, an injury or infection that damages the muscles lifting your foot is the cause of foot drop. 
  • Joint problems. Arthritis and other joint problems can make it difficult to lift your foot high enough when you walk. 
  • Stroke. Also, people who have experienced a stroke often experience problems with their feet operating.

 

Risk Factors of Foot Drop

Risk factors of foot drop

There are a number of factors that can increase your risk of developing foot drop, including: 

  • Having diabetes or another condition that damages the nerves.
  • Having a history of injury to your leg or hip.
  • Having certain types of surgery, such as knee or hip replacement surgery.
  • Being treated with radiation therapy for cancer.
  • Having Lou Gehrig’s disease, muscular dystrophy, or polio.
  • Having arthritis or other joint problems.
  • Having a stroke.

In general, all causes and risk factors are approximately the same.

 

How Is Drop Foot Diagnosed?

A timely diagnosis can provide up to 50% of the work performed. After all, with the right diagnosis, you can start treating your disease in time, and your chances of improving your condition will increase significantly. Always seek help from a specialist so that they can diagnose you in time and prescribe the right treatment for foot drop.

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. They will give you a physical exam. This may include tests to check for nerve damage and muscle weakness. The doctor may also order imaging tests, such as an MRI, to rule out other conditions.

 

Dropped Foot Treatment

If you have foot drop, several cures options are available depending on the underlying cause of your condition. These treatments include physical therapy, braces, and surgery:

 

  1. Physical therapy involves exercises that help improve the affected muscles’ strength and range of motion. 
  2. Braces can help support the foot and ankle and prevent the toe from dragging. 
  3. Surgery can be great for correcting nerve damage or muscle weakness. In some cases, a tendon transfer may be performed to help the affected muscles function better.

 

The cure that is right for you will depend on the underlying cause of your foot drop. Talk to your doctor to find out which treatment option is right for you based on the severity of your condition and its underlying cause.

 

When You Should See a Doctor

You should consult a doctor if you find the first signs of this disease. If you notice that you cannot raise your leg normally or you have numbness in your leg, you should contact a specialist for timely assistance. The sooner you seek help from a specialist, the higher your chances of a fast recovery.

 

Bottom Line 

In summary, foot drop is a complex condition that can greatly affect your daily life and impair your mobility. For your limbs to function normally, you need to seek help from a specialist in a timely manner. To do this, always choose a professional clinic with experienced staff. With this approach, you can improve the quality of your life and change your condition.

To do this, you can use the contact us button or call the phone number 214-619-1910. After that, you will receive the necessary help and be able to ask any questions you have.

 

FAQs 

  • Why do people get foot drops?

Compression of a nerve in your leg that controls the muscles responsible for elevating the foot is the most frequent cause of foot drop (peroneal nerve).

  • What is the prognosis for people with foot drop?

The reason for foot drop affects the prognosis. Injury- or nerve-related foot drop typically exhibits partial or even full recovery. Foot drop is a symptom of developing neurological illnesses and is likely to be a permanent disability.

  • Should I worry about foot drop?

Foot drop is a condition that can make it difficult to lift your foot. You need to see a doctor to get proper treatment and improve your condition.

  • Does foot drop come on suddenly?

Foot drop symptoms can develop gradually or unexpectedly, making it challenging to stand, walk, or lift the affected foot.

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Edward Medina
Edward Medina
15:34 30 Jun 22
Just such an amazing staff that makes you feel like part of their family. I’ve been going there for over 5 years now... and each visit I get the very best care and treatments that I have ever received in the 20+ years that I’ve been dealing with severe debilitating migraines. Since i started seeing them the number of my migraines has dropped from 15-20 a month to 2-3 every 3 month. I highly recommend them …they will change your life!read more
Daneisha Johnson
Daneisha Johnson
22:20 19 May 22
Dr. Askari was very kind and explained everything so I could understand. The other staff were nice as well. I would... have gave 5 stars but I was a little taken aback when I checked in and had to pay 600.00 upfront. I think that should have been discussed in a appointment confirmation call or email just so I could have been prepared.read more
Jean Cooper
Jean Cooper
16:54 29 Apr 22
I love the office staff they are friendly and very helpful. Dr. JODIE is very caring and understanding to your needs... and wants to help you. I will go back. would recommend Dr. Dr. Jodie to other Patients in a heart beat. The team works well together.read more
Linda M
Linda M
19:40 02 Apr 22
I was obviously stressed, needing to see a neurologist. The staff was so patient and Dr. Ansari was so kind. At one... point he told me to relax, we have time, when I was relaying my history of my condition. That helped ease my stress. I have seen 3 other neurologists and he was the only one who performed any assessment tests on my cognitive and physical skills. At one point I couldn't complete two assessments and got upset and cried. I was told, it's OK. That's why you're here. I was truly impressed, and super pleased with the whole experience!read more
Leslie Durham
Leslie Durham
15:05 01 Apr 22
I've been coming here for about 5 years. The staff are ALWAYS friendly and knowledgeable. The Doctors are the absolute... best!! Jodie Moore is always in such a great mood which is a plus when you are already stressed. Highly recommendedread more
Monica Del Bosque
Monica Del Bosque
14:13 25 Mar 22
Since my first post my thoughts have changed here. It's unfortunate. My doctor and PA were great, but the office staff... is horrible. They never call you back when they say they will, they misinform you, they cause you too much stress wondering what's going on, they don't keep you posted. They never answer the phone. At this point I've left four messages in the last week, and I have sent three messages. Twice from their portal and one direct email. No response. My appointment is on Monday morning at 8:30am, no confirmation on my insurance and what's going on. What the heck is going on, this is ridiculous!I've given up... the stress her office staff has put me through is just not worth it. You can do so much better, please clean house, either change out your office staff, or find a way for them to be more efficient please. You have to do something. This is not how you want to run your practice. It leaves a very bad impression on your business.read more
Ron Buckholz
Ron Buckholz
23:32 23 Mar 22
I was actually pleasantly surprised with this visit! It took me a long time to get the appointment scheduled because no... one answers your phones EVER! After a month, I finally got in, and your staff was warm, friendly, and I was totally impressed! I feel like you will take care of my needs!read more
Steve Nabavi
Steve Nabavi
16:28 16 Mar 22
It was a nice visit. Happy staff doing all they can do to comfort the patients in a very calming environment. You ask... me they are earned a big gold star on the fridge. My only complaint they didn't give me any cookies.read more
Katie Lewis
Katie Lewis
16:10 10 Feb 22
Had very positive appointments with Jodie and Dr. Sheth for my migraine care. Jodie was so fast with the injections and... has so much valuable info. I started to feel light headed during checkout and the staff was SO helpful—giving me a chair, water, and taking me into a private room until I felt better. Highly recommend this practice for migraine patients, they know what they’re doing!!read more
Joshua Martinez
Joshua Martinez
16:02 10 Dec 21
I was scheduled to be checked and just want to say that the staff was fantastic. They were kind and helpful. I was... asked many questions related to what was going on and not once did I feel as though I was being brushed off. The front desk staff was especially great in assisting me. I'm scheduled to go back for a mri and am glad that I'll be going there.read more
Isabel Ivy
Isabel Ivy
21:42 03 Nov 21
I had such a good experience with Lone Star Neurology, Brent my MRI Tech was so awesome and made sure I was very... comfortable during the appointment. He gave me ear plugs, a pillow, leg support and blanket, easiest MRI ever lol 🤣 My 72 hour EEG nurse Amanda was also so awesome. She made sure I was take care of over the 3 days and took her time with the electrodes to make sure it was comfortable for me! Paige was also a huge help in answering all my questions when it came to my test results, and letting me know her honest opinions about how I should go forth with my treatment.read more
Leslie Luce
Leslie Luce
17:37 20 Oct 21
The professionalism and want to help attitude of this office was present from the moment I contacted them. The follow... up and follow through as well as their willingness to find a way to schedule my dad was above and beyond. We visited two offices in the same day with the same experience. I am appreciative of this—we spend a lot of time with doctors and this was top notch start to finish.read more
robert Parker
robert Parker
16:38 16 Apr 21
I love going to this office. The staff is friendly and helpful. The doctor is great. I am getting the best... neurological tests and treatment I have ever had. The only reason I did not give them a 5 star rating is because it is impossible to reach a live person at the office to reschedule appointments. Every time I have tried to get through to the office it says all people are busy and I am sent to a voicemail. If they could get their phone answering fixed, I would give them a strong 5 stars.read more
MaryAnn Hornbaker
MaryAnn Hornbaker
00:26 25 Feb 21
Dr. Harney is an excellent Dr. I found him friendly , personable and thorough. I evidently am an unusual case. ... Therefore he spent a Hugh amount of time educating me. He even gave me literature to further explain my condition and how to follow up. This is something you rarely get from your doctors. So I am more than please with my doctor and his staff.read more
Roger Arguello
Roger Arguello
03:05 29 Jan 21
Always courteous, professional. The staff is very friendly and always work with you to find the best appointment time.... The care team has been great. Always taking the time to listen to your concerns and to find the best treatment.read more
Margaret Rowland
Margaret Rowland
01:12 27 Jan 21
I have been a patient at Lone Star Neurology for several years. Now both my adult daughters also are patients there. I... love Jodie. She is always so prompt whether it is a teleamed call are a visit in the office. She takes the time to explain everything to me and answers all my questions. I am so blessed to have Jodie as my doctor.read more
Susan Miller
Susan Miller
03:01 13 Jan 21
My husband had an accident 5 years ago and Lone Star Neurology has been such a blessing to us with my husbands care.... Jodie Moore is his provider and she is amazing! Jodie is very knowledgeable, caring, and thorough. She takes her time with you, making sure your needs are met and she is happy to answer any questions you may have. Lone Star Neurology’s patients are very lucky to have Jodie providing their care. Thank you Lone Star Neurology and especially Jodie for everything you have done for us. Jodie, you are the best!read more
Windalyn C
Windalyn C
01:32 09 Jan 21
Jodie is wonderful. She is very caring and knowledgeable. I have been to over a dozen neurologists, and none were able... to help me as much as they have here. Thanks!read more
Katie Kordel
Katie Kordel
00:40 09 Jan 21
Jodi Moore, nurse practitioner, is amazing. I have suffered from frequent, debilitating headaches for almost 20 years.... She has provided the best proactive and responsive care I have ever received. My quality of life has been greatly improved by her caring approach and tenacity in finding solutions.read more
Ellie Natsis
Ellie Natsis
15:41 07 Jan 21
I have had the best experience at this neurologist's office! For over a year I have been receiving iv treatments here... each month and my nurse, Bobbie is beyond wonderful!! She's so attentive, knowledgeable, caring, and detail oriented. She makes an otherwise uncomfortable experience much more pleasant and definitely puts me at ease! She also helps me with my insurance,ordering this specialty medication and dealing with the ordering process which is no easy feat.Needless to say, she goes above a beyond in every way and I'm so grateful to this office and to Bobbie for all they do for me!read more
Matt Morris
Matt Morris
15:39 07 Jan 21
Let me start by saying that I have been coming here for years. Due to my autoimmune disease, I am in this office... once every three weeks for multiple hours at a time. The office is very clean and the staff very friendly. My only complaint would be there communication via phone. They aren't the best at responding if you leave a voicemail and expect a call back. I understand that this is prob just due to the sheer number of alls they receive daily. What I can say I like the best about the office are the people. Bobby who handles my infusions is great. I never have any issues with her setting up my infusions. She is very quick to reply to messages sent via text and if she were to leave then my whole opinion of the office may change. I also enjoy people like Matt, Lauren, and Jodi. I appreciate all that they do for me and without this team I'm not sure I would be as happy as I am to visit the office as frequently as I have to. Please ensure that these folks are recognized as they are what makes my visit to this office so tolerable :).read more
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