Foot drop is a health issue that identifies a weakening of the muscles that allow ankle and toe flexing. This health issue causes the patient to drag the front part of the foot when walking. To compensate for this dragging, the patient will often flex the knee to raise the foot higher than in a standard stride, frequently referred to as a high steppage gait.
Foot drop generally affects the muscles moving the ankle and foot upward, especially the anterior tibialis, the extensor halluces longus, and the extensor digitorum longus. Although foot drop is a neuromuscular disorder affecting muscles and nerves, it’s not a disease. It is a symptom of an underlying, perhaps spinal, health issue.
The most well-known symptom of foot drop, high steppage gait, is commonly characterized by raising the thigh up in an exaggerated manner while walking, similar to climbing the stairs. High steppage gait is associated with one of the following:
The affected muscles are often utilized to maintain the foot off the ground during the swing-through phase of walking. If these are weak, they can’t maintain the foot up, and the foot will scrape throughout the floor if it is not raised high. Aside from the common symptoms above, additional problems typically associated with foot drop can ultimately include:
Other well-known symptoms also associated with foot drop may ultimately include one or a combination of the following:
Foot drop is a symptom of an underlying health issue. Foot drop causes fall into one or a combination of three categories:
Specific conditions or diseases and other health issues which may cause foot drop may also include:
Various lumbar spine health issues can ultimately affect the nerve roots, including the peroneal and sciatic nerves. Any compression or impingement of the nerve roots in the lower back may cause foot drop. Common lower back or lumbar spine health issues which can cause foot drop and a variety of other symptoms, such as sciatica, may include:
It should be known that determining the underlying cause of foot drop is often necessary to be able to treat it effectively.
Foot drop is generally diagnosed through a physical evaluation. The healthcare professional will watch the patient walk and check their leg muscles for weakness. The doctor should also check for pain, tingling sensation, and numbness in the foot.
Foot drop is sometimes caused by an overgrowth of bone in the spinal canal or by a tumor or cyst pressing on the nerve roots in the lumbar spine. Imaging tests will help pinpoint these kinds of health issues. These imaging tests can include the following:
Electromyography, or EMG, and nerve conduction studies measure electrical activity in the muscles and nerves. These tests can be uncomfortable, but they help determine the region of the damage or injury along the affected nerve.
Treatment for foot drops depends on the cause of the health issue. If the cause is successfully treated, foot drop may improve or even disappear. If the cause can’t be treated, foot drop may be irreversible. Treatment for foot drop may include:
Foot drop is a health issue in which the raising of the front part of the foot is difficult. Foot drop is not a condition or disease but rather, a symptoms of an underlying health issue. Muscle and/or nerve damage caused by injury and/or an aggravated health issue, such as a lumbar herniated disc, spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, and/or fractures can ultimately cause foot drop. These health issues can also cause low back pain and sciatica as well as other painful symptoms. – Dr. Alex Jimenez D.C., C.C.S.T. Insight
Low back pain and sciatica are common health issues that affect many individuals worldwide. However, did you know that chronic pain may be due to foot problems? Health issues originating in the foot may ultimately cause imbalances in the spine, such as poor posture, which can cause the well-known symptoms of low back pain and sciatica. Custom foot orthotics, individually designed with 3-arch support, can help promote overall health and wellness by supporting and promoting good posture and correcting foot problems. Custom foot orthotics can ultimately help improve low back pain and sciatica.
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The information herein on "Foot Drop and Sciatica Symptoms" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
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