Wednesday, 25 November 2015

How You can Prevent Foot Drop

Keeping your feet firmly on the ground – literally – can become difficult if you suffer from certain painful conditions. Foot drop (sometimes called drop foot) is one such ailment which makes it difficult for you to lift the front part of your foot, particularly the toes upwards. It is not a disease in itself. Rather it is a symptom which points towards some basic ailments or medical conditions.

If you suffer from foot drop, you need to address conditions like tendon, muscle or nerve injuries. This foot problem can arise from multiple sclerosis, injury to the spinal cord or a sudden stroke. Sometimes drug reactions can also cause the condition. It can be hereditary too. Some may experience foot drop for a temporary period, while for many it can turn out to be a permanent problem. Discussed below are a few facts which would help you prevent foot drop.

What causes foot drop

Try walking on your heels for a few minutes and if you experience some difficulty, then there is every chance that you suffer from foot drop. As already mentioned, this particular condition arises from tendon or muscle damage which can happen from a sudden injury or some other medical condition. A hip or knee surgery can directly cause foot drop. Disorder of the central nervous system might also lead to this foot condition. Adverse reaction of some drugs especially the ones used during chemotherapy can cause the illness, though for a temporary period. Alcohol can be the reason too.

How to treat foot drop

Surgery is the only option if foot drop is the direct outcome of muscle or tendon injury or a herniated disc (sometimes called a slipped disk or a ruptured disk). In certain cases, podiatrists suggest nerve stimulation by surgically implanting a small device below the knee; it is done if nerve damage is the prime cause. This device generates small electrical pulses which stimulate the nerves to function normally while walking. Physical therapy and exercises are commonly suggested which help strengthen muscles and tendons, thereby preventing recurrence of foot drop.

Accessories that help reduce discomfort due to foot drop

A number of devices are available to reduce discomfort caused by foot drop. You can opt for blanket lifters which protect sensitive feet from excessive weight of the blanket or heavy sheets. It is particularly advised after foot drop surgery. A splint or brace can help stabilize and soothe foot and ankle joint. Mostly designed like a boot, the brace supports your foot while walking. Then there are other devices such as foot positioner, heel guard, foot elevator and foot lifter, each of which is specifically designed to prevent further damage to and stress of tendons and muscles.

When to seek medical advice

If you suffer from foot drop, then it would be the right thing to seek immediate medical advice. You can consult a qualified foot specialist to follow the right course of treatment and to check whether you need any surgery. If any medical condition is the cause of the problem, that needs to be attended too.

Preventing foot drop is not that tough. Do not make things tougher for you, if you already suffer it: you just need to be aware of the right solution that works best for you.