Foot Drop Treatment: Ankle Foot Orthosis for Foot Drop
Foot drop, also known as drop foot, is a symptom characterized by an inability to lift the front part of the foot.
To compensate for this, an individual will often walk with a “steppage gait” that involves a high lift of the knee to prevent the toes from scuffing across the ground and the front of the foot from slapping as the foot hits the ground. Or one might swing the leg out to the side to account for the foot-dragging. This can affect one or both feet, depending on the cause.
For complete orthopedic information what causes drop foot, visit our resource library article on Foot Drop Causes. Drop foot can be caused by a number of conditions that generally fall into the following three categories:
- Nerve injury (via habitual leg crossing, knee replacement surgery, sports injury, etc.)
- Neurological or muscular disorder (e.g., forms of muscular dystrophy, polio)
- Brain or spinal cord disorder (e.g., multiple sclerosis (MS), stroke, cerebral palsy)
Of these, compression of the peroneal nerve is one of the most common causes. This nerve is located near the surface of the skin on the outer side of the knee. It controls the muscles used to lift the foot.
Some of these are treatable; others are not. Because foot drop is a symptom, its treatability depends upon the underlying cause.
Foot Drop Brace
Regardless of whether foot drop is temporary or long-term in nature, there are a number of ankle/foot orthotics (AFO) that can remedy the foot drop symptom itself for however long is needed. At BraceAbility, people find these AFO for foot drop at bargain prices.
A drop foot brace can help one get back to a more normal gait. The most common brace for foot drop is one that encompasses the ankle and foot to hold the foot in a normal position so that the toes do not scuff across the floor or slap against the ground as one walks.
Foot Drop Boots
Similarly, a foot drop boot supports the foot and ankle to minimize any troubles walking and tripping over things due to the paralysis of the front part of the foot.
BraceAbility also offers a foot drop shoe that has the added benefit of easing pain in the heel of the foot that can result from the uneven pressure distribution around the foot due to drop foot. This shoe has a cutout area for the heel that prevents it from coming in contact with surfaces that can cause pain and pressure.
Foot Drop Splint & Other Support Products
If you are looking for foot drop support that is less bulky, a foot drop splint that fits in a shoe may be a good option for you. These function in a similar manner to a brace for foot drop, supporting the foot to keep it in a normal position.
The Corflex Ultra Dorsal Night Splint features a simple design, a memory foam pad to eliminate pressure points and CoolTex straps to ensure that wearing the drop foot splint is as comfortable as possible.
Another foot drop support that can help absorb pressure and ease soreness or stiffness in the heel is heel cushion inserts. The ViscoSpot Heel Cushion has proved 95% effective in early treatment of heel pain, thanks to its unique silicone design.
Outside of the AFO foot drop world, physical therapy to strengthen and stretch the muscles of the leg and keep the range of motion for the ankle and knee are often recommended as part of one’s foot drop treatment. Nerve stimulation is another option for some, as is surgery.