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4 Treatment Options for Drop Foot

If the front of your foot drags or drops when you walk or exercise, you could be dealing with drop foot. The leading cause of walking difficulties among stroke survivors, drop foot can also stem from a slipped disc, sports injuries, and chronic diseases, such as diabetes, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and multiple sclerosis (MS).

Thankfully, you don’t have to attempt to grin and bear your symptoms. In fact, doing so can lead to worsening issues and raise your risk for spills and injuries. 

If you’re bothered by drop foot, Dr. Stephanie Oexeman of Oexeman Foot and Ankle, PLLC, in Chicago, Illinois, can help. Fellowship-trained in treating lower extremity nerve pain, she offers numerous treatments to bring relief and help you get back to your usual activities. 

Read on to learn more about this condition, including four proven treatments. 

Understanding drop foot symptoms

No matter the underlying cause, drop foot symptoms develop when damage occurs in a nerve that runs down your affected leg and allows you to lift your foot — or both feet if nerves in both legs are affected.

As a result of the dropped or dragging foot and nerve damage, you may also experience:

  • An abnormal gait when you walk
  • Frequent tripping
  • Numbness or tingling on the top of your foot or shin
  • A slapping sound when you walk, known as a steppage gait

Drop foot may also take a toll on your self-confidence if you feel embarrassed about your altered way of moving. Meanwhile, you may be less able to participate in activities you enjoy. 

Effective drop foot treatments

Drop foot treatment aims to relieve your bothersome symptoms and improve your mobility. In some cases, symptoms improve on their own over weeks or months. In others, symptoms become permanent.

Depending on factors like the cause and severity of your symptoms, Dr. Oexeman may recommend one or more of the following drop foot treatments:

  1. A brace or splint to keep your foot in proper form
  2. Nerve stimulation, which may help if you have multiple sclerosis or had a stroke
  3. Physical therapy to strengthen or stretch your foot and leg muscles
  4. Surgery to repair nerve damage or fuse your ankle and foot joints 

You may also benefit from therapy to help manage the emotional aspects of chronic drop foot. In more severe cases, an assistive device, such as a walker or wheelchair, may help a great deal. 

To learn more about drop foot treatments or to get the care and support you need, call our office or book an appointment online today.