Pharmacy Clinical Pearl of the Day: Foot Drop

Foot drop is a sign of an underlying neurological, muscular, or anatomical problem.

Clinical Pearl of the Day: Foot Drop

Foot drop, sometimes called drop foot, is a general term for difficulty lifting the front part of the foot.

Insight:

  • If the patient has foot drop, the front of the foot might drag on the ground when they walk.
  • Foot drop isn't a disease. Rather, foot drop is a sign of an underlying neurological, muscular, or anatomical problem.
  • Sometimes foot drop is temporary, but it can be permanent.
  • If the patient has foot drop, they may need to wear a brace on the ankle and foot to hold the foot in a normal position. This can cause the patient to raise the thigh when they walk, as though climbing stairs (steppage gait), to help the foot clear the floor. This unusual gait might cause the patient to slap the foot down onto the floor with each step.
  • In some cases, the skin on the top of the foot and toes feels numb.
  • Causes include nerve injury, muscle or nerve disorders, brain and spinal cord disorders.
  • Risk factors include prolonged kneeling, crossing the legs for long time, and wearing leg casts for long time.
  • Diagnosis tools include MRI, ultrasound, CT scan, and X-ray.
  • Treatment includes braces or splints, physical therapy, nerve stimulation, and possible surgery.

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