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Drop Foot and Cerebral Palsy


Drop foot (also called foot drop) is the inability to lift the front of the foot when walking.  The result is that the toes drag unless extra effort is expended to walk differently, for example by lifting the knee higher, or swinging the leg in an arc.

Diagnosing Drop Foot

Preliminary diagnosis of drop foot is usually made with a physical examination by a pediatrician, physical therapist, or orthopedist.

How Is Drop Foot Treated?

Drop Foot is treated differently depending on the cause.  Some causes, separate from cerebral palsy, include multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and physical trauma.  For cerebral palsy, pediatric orthopedists and orthopedists may consider the following interventions:

  • Leg Braces and Orthotics:  known as Ankle Foot Orthoses (AFOs), leg braces do not cure drop foot, but they can improve walking.  These braces are frequently worn underneath pants, and they force the foot to lift up.
  • Physical Therapy:  therapy and exercise can strengthen the muscles and improve motion. of the joints.
  • Surgery: some surgical options may be to fuse the foot and ankle joint, or to move tendons from other areas.
  • Electrical Stimulators:  new products are being devised and approved by the FDA to electrically stimulate the leg muscles during walking, which can bend the foot upward.  One example is the Bioness L300 Foot Drop System.

Dealing with drop foot depends to a large extent on physical capabilities.  Some people may be able to use a cane to assist in walking.  It is important to take precautions around the house, like avoiding clutter on the floor, limiting the use of area rugs, and keeping the house well-lit.  These common sense efforts can help prevent dangerous falls.

Contact Us

Drop foot is a condition that can require coordinated treatment by orthopedists, surgeons and neurologists.  It can be expensive to treat, and may require a lifetime of medical intervention.  If your child has cerebral developed and developed drop foot, contact our medical malpractice lawyers at (440) 252-4399, or send us a message through our website.

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