View Full Version : Foot Drop?

03-23-2009, 12:18
I have preliminarily been diagnosed with what the doctor called "foot drop".
I have decreased feeling in the front of my right leg from the knee across the top of the foot. I extend my foot down but can not flex it upwards.

Anyone have any experience with this? I am supposed to be referred to a neurologist soon.

I have a history of back problems to include a laminectomy in 1976, L2-L5.
I do not have any sciatica or any other pain occurring and haven't had for years. This suddenly just appeared about a month ago.

03-23-2009, 12:53
Yes, I have had foot drop for many years. It was funny as the troops could hear me me walking like a duck with right foot slapping the ground from some ditance off. Initally it was attributed to a 7.62 mm round that shattered my ankle and tore up the lower calf. However, I also had a Grade III lumbar spine with marked severe left and marked severe right sided foraminal stenosis (L5/S1).

I had the lamenectomy done in 1992 with pedicle rods, plates, and screws. I had gone through all the nerve blocks I cared to. Do your legs ever feel like they weigh 100 pounds each? Does your lower back lock up now, or has it ever totally locked up leaving you flat on the floor for a day or more? Have they run EMG's on that leg or both legs? Yes, I had two MRI's, but; the EMG's showed the leg results. I am no medic or MD.

03-23-2009, 12:59
No Pain. No discomfort. No Lock-ups....Only the right leg and sometimes it seems less numb than others but the upward flex does not change. No ability to flex the right foot upward at all.

03-23-2009, 13:27
The two most common causes of foot drop are compression of the peroneal nerve and an L5 radiculopathy.
The peroneal nerve runs around the fibular head (outside edge lower part of the knee). It can be damaged there by compression (i.e. a bandage) or by direct trauma. The later is so called "Bellhop's knee" from the suitcases hitting the lateral aspect of the knee while being carried.
L5 radiculopathy is where the L5 nerve root, as it comes off the spinal cord, on the affected side is compressed. Either a herinated disc (HNP) or degenerative arthritis are the two most common causes of this.
Unless it is obvious (such as known trauma at either spot) the work up to determine the cause is a "little" involved. Generally, you need a nerve conduction study and an MRI.
Once you pin point the cause then you can start a treatment. Generally with physical therapy the foot drop will resolve, if the pressure is taken off the nerve soon enough.
If for some reason it isn't treatable then an AFO (ankle foot orthosis) is very helpful. This is a thin sheet of plastic that goes in your shoe and up the calf which holds your foot up and keeps it from flopping when you walk.
Good luck and lets us know how it works out.

Blitzzz (RIP)
03-23-2009, 17:23
Not knowing the extent of you lack of control, I can suggest what I've done with patients in the past. First know it takes thousands of reps to achieve any results.
In a straight leg seated position with your foot perpendicular to the floor/mat. As a 90 degree bend would be "straight" then have someone place one hand under your heel and the other on the bottom of your foot at the ball. You should be able to push your toes away and then as you "think" to draw your foot up, have the other person move your foot bent up. do this 60 to 100 times per setting and as much as 3 times a day. Have the person adjust the assistance with lifting the foot as the foot grows stronger but complete the range of motion.

This type of drill has had great and unexpected results in clinic. It has worked when it was not supposed to. it take a lot of time. over many weeks with little results at first. It will seem not to be working at first give it 6 weeks and let me know where you are on or if there is progress. Good luck Blitzzz

03-24-2009, 08:38
Thanks for the info guys. Just waiting on the referral now. Anybody had any experience with acupuncture on this. Going to see my acupuncture girl Friday. I've read about some results with this treatment.

03-24-2009, 18:04
and with the neurologist, get an opinion from a neurosurgeon!


Red Flag 1
03-25-2009, 05:56
if it worth saying, it will be quoted.

03-25-2009, 07:18
Thanks for the info guys. Just waiting on the referral now. Anybody had any experience with acupuncture on this. Going to see my acupuncture girl Friday. I've read about some results with this treatment.

acupuncture is hit or miss for some people. If it's financially feasible and the acupuncturist is reputable, it sure worth a try. I hope it works out for you.

Best wishes, ff

AF Doc
03-26-2009, 15:41
Get a diagnosis!

RF is on target again. Foot drop is a sign, not a diagnosis. In order to develop a treatment plan, you need to know what is causing the foot drop. Neurology consult is the right first step (no pun intended). Neurosurgery may well be the follow-up. Best of luck to you!

03-26-2009, 20:56
I had it.

In may case it took an L4-L5 discectomy/laminectomy to get the ol' D9 runnin' again.

Good luck. It was the aforementioned L5 radiculopathy in my case.