Also known as drop foot, is an inability to lift up the forefoot due to weakness of the dorsiflexors of the foot.  This will inhibit our ability lift up the front part of our foot, and the toes have difficulty clearing the ground, leading to dragging of toes or a noticeable slapping of foot on the ground with each step.

Causes of foot drop:

  • Nerve injury: Damages to the nerves that control the muscles involving in lifting the foot, such as peroneal nerve can result from conditions like herniated discs, nerve compression or trauma.
  • Muscle weakness or paralysis: Conditions such as stroke, muscular dystrophy, or multiple sclerosis can weaken or paralyze the muscles responsible for foot movement.
  • Brain or Spinal Cord Disorders: Neurological conditions like cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease, or spinal cord injury can disrupt signals sent to the muscles, leading to foot drop.
  • Nerve Compression: Pressure on the nerves due to tumors, cysts, or other masses can cause foot drop.
  • Medications: Certain medications affecting the nervous system or muscles can induce weakness or paralysis, contributing to foot drop.

Symptoms of Foot Drop:

  • Difficulty lifting the foot, leading to dragging of the toes.
  • High-stepping gait to compensate for the inability to clear the foot properly.
  • Tripping or stumbling while walking. 
  • Foot slapping against the ground with each step.
  • Numbness or tingling in the affected foot or leg.


Below are some treatment options for foot drop:

a. Physiotherapy:

Physiotherapist will prescribe exercises to strengthen the muscles of the foot, ankle and lower leg can help improve mobility and stability.

b. Nerve stimulation:

Transcutaneous electrical muscle stimulation (TENS) or functional electrical stimulation can be used to stimulate the muscles and the nerve, improving foot dorsiflexion.

c. Medications

In some cases, muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatory medications are prescribed to alleviate pain or reduce muscle spasticity.

d. Surgery

Surgical interventions may be necessary in severe cases or when conservation management fail to provide relief.

Foot drop is a challenging condition that can significantly impact an individuals mobility and daily activities. However, with proper diagnosis and treatment, many people can effectively manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.  It is essential to consult a healthcare professional for assessment and appropriate intervention.  Early intervention and a comprehensive treatment approach can make a significant difference in managing this condition and restoring functional mobility.

Prepared by:

Cornelia Kueh Shu Wen

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