What is ‘Foot Drop’ and Why Should You be Talking to Your Chiropractor About it?
Many people suffer from a condition called foot drop – also known as drop foot – but don’t realize it’s actually an issue. The neuromuscular disorder shows itself in patients who have difficult lifting the front part of their foot, which sometimes causes an abnormal posture while walking, an abnormally heightened gait or swinging of the leg in a wide arc.
Foot drop may go unnoticed over time because patients may get used to the way they walk, but it is often a treatable ailment. Some cases of foot drop go away on their own within a few weeks, while others require treatment or even surgery to correct.
One such form of treatment is chiropractic care. At Posture Works, we strive to help patients living in San Francisco, CA and Denver, CO find alternative solutions to drop foot and other nervous and skeletal system problems, so they can move and live freely.
Symptoms and causes of foot drop
Patients with foot drop will struggle to lift the front of their foot because of a weakening of the muscles that allow them to flex their ankles and toes. This usually results in the patient dragging their foot while walking or using an exaggerated stride by lifting the knee higher than normal to compensate.
Foot drop may be accompanied by painful tingling or burning sensations, but not all patients experience this. It can occur in one or both feet and happen to people of any age. If unaddressed, the disorder can cause muscular atrophy, or a decrease in muscle mass, in the leg, abnormal posture and problems in the hips from abnormal gaits.
There are many different things that can cause foot drop, most of which are a result of muscle or nerve damage. Damage or pressure on the peroneal nerve – the nerve that runs from the knee to the foot – is a likely cause. Additionally, skeletal abnormalities can cause the disorder, which may require surgery to correct. Here are some of the common causes of foot drop:
- Lower back conditions such as herniated disks or spinal stenosis;
- A stroke;
- Multiple sclerosis;
- Foot injuries;
- Surgical complications;
- Parkinson’s disease.
To diagnose foot drop, chiropractors will conduct a physical examination, relying on scale of mobility and an assessment of other symptoms to pinpoint the underlying cause.
A chiropractic solution
A wide range of treatment options are available to people suffering from foot drop, but the best option for you will depend on the underlying cause of the weakened muscles. One common treatment includes foot drop braces or splints, which stabilize the foot and ankle at 90 degrees and prevent the foot from dragging.
Surgery may be necessary to correct the underlying cause if it is a herniated disk, spinal stenosis or spondylolisthesis. However, surgery may not always be the best choice. Before turning to surgery, many patients suffering from foot drop caused by spinal issues seek chiropractic treatment to alleviate their symptoms.
Structural problems in the spine or abnormal alignment can reduce the functionality of the nervous system and lead to problems with the peroneal nerve, causing foot drop. To fix these issues, chiropractors may implement spinal manipulations, alignments and decompressions. These treatments can sometimes help patients suffering by relieving the pressure on nerves and joints in the leg experiencing decreased functionality.
Additionally, the chiropractor can help patients work through physical therapy-type exercises and stretches that can correct abnormal gaits caused by the drop foot and improve the range of motion in the ankle.
Leaving Foot Drop Behind
If you suffer from foot drop and are looking for an alternative treatment to surgery, contact the chiropractic team at Posture Works, located in San Francisco, CA and Denver, CO. Through Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP), a comprehensive wellness approach, we aim to improve patient care and symptom reduction without the need for invasive procedures.
Chiropractic BioPhysics, or CBP, is one of the most scientific, researched, and results-oriented corrective care techniques. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health, eliminating nerve interference and addressing the source of pain, fatigue, and disease. As with all chiropractic care, CBP is gentle, painless, and non-invasive.