Foot Drop: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Foot drop is nearly always a symptom of a greater, underlying problem rather than a condition in and of itself.

Preferred Foot & Ankle

What is Foot Drop?

Foot drop is a type of gait abnormality. The patient’s foot “drops,” meaning they have difficulty lifting their toes while they walk. This causes them to drag or scuffle the foot. Some patients raise the thigh higher than normal to avoid this type of shuffling. The latter is known as a steppage gait.

What Causes Foot Drop?

Foot drop is usually caused by a neurological disorder, although occasionally the cause may be muscular in nature. Diseases that may cause foot drop include:

  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease)
  • Herniated disc

Other common causes of foot drop include stroke and trauma due to injury or as the result of surgery to the knee or hip.

Drs Mikkel Jarman & Brent Weintrub with Preferred Foot and Ankle Specialists

You can schedule your appointment online anytime!

Book an Appointment

Call our office (480) 497-3946 if you have questions or want to schedule an appointment today.

Diagnosing and Treating Foot Drop

Foot Drop graphic Mayo Clinic

(Image credit: Foot Drop Mayo Clinic)

To diagnose foot drop, your podiatrist performs a physical exam. Often, the only test needed is to have the patient dorsiflex their foot. Dorsiflexion is simply the act of bending the foot up. Your doctor rates mobility on a score from 0 to 5, with 0 indicating complete paralysis and 5 showing healthy mobility.
Treatment requires determining the underlying cause. Options include:

  • Braces
  • Electrical nerve stimulation
  • Physical therapy

Surgery may be required for some patients.

Schedule an Appointment

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Jarman or Dr. Weintrub, call (480) 497-3946 today. You may also schedule an appointment via our Zocdoc page.