What is Drop foot?
Drop foot, also called foot drop, describes the inability to raise the toes of the foot due to weakness or paralysis of the muscles that lift the foot. As a result, individuals with foot drop drag their toes along the ground or raise their thighs higher than usual when walking to make sure that the foot does not drag across the floor (steppage gait). Foot drop typically affects one foot although it is possible for both feet to be affected.
Foot drop is frequently caused by neurological disorders, such as a stroke or multiple sclerosis. Neuromuscular clinical pictures and intervertebral disc prolapses can also result in drop foot.
SPAO offers a broad selection of orthoses which reactivate dorsiflexion, or the lifting of the foot, and enable a more natural gait. The treatment of foot drop significantly reduces the risk of stumbling and falling. Furthermore, non-physiological compensating movements, such as circular motion of the leg or lifting of the pelvis on one side of the body, can be prevented.
The initial treatment for drop foot is usually physiotherapy. This includes exercises and gait training. However, if full function does not return, a splint that fits in your shoe, known as an Ankle-Foot Orthosis (AFO) may be provided. Other treatment options include medication (Baclofen or Botulinum) or surgery.
Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES)
(FES) uses small electrical currents to stimulate the nerves that connect to the paralysed muscles.This causes the muscles to contract. FES can be used to treat foot drop.
FES can also be used to stimulate nerves in the arms, legs, trunk and buttocks in order to achieve a range of functional movements.