Foot drop, also known as drop foot, occurs when you are unable to elevate the front half of your foot owing to paralysis or muscle weakness. It is a sign of a variety of underlying illnesses and may be either transitory or persistent.

Moreover, people with foot drop often drag their toes while walking due to weakness or paralysis. To prevent dragging their toes, they might need to elevate their knee higher than normal. This way may enhance your chances of falling and stumbling. In addition, foot drops may affect one or both of your feet.


Depending on the reason, foot drop symptoms may happen gradually or quickly. Before the illness becomes completely developed, someone may exhibit early indications and symptoms.

Foot drop symptoms include:

  • Romberg’s sign
  • Reduced muscle mass
  • Leg pain
  • Numbness
  • Limp foot
  • Circumduction gait
  • High steppage gait
  • Falls
  • Tripping
  • Inability to hold footwear

Foot drop symptoms might be chronic or irregular, with intervals of normal foot strength in between.


A physician will do a physical examination to determine the cause of foot drop, which may reveal:

  • Loss of control over the muscles in your lower legs and feet.
  • Muscle wasting in your leg or foot.
  • Having trouble raising your feet and toes.

To determine the underlying reason for foot drop, the doctor may request any of the following tests:

  • MRI scans, ultrasounds, or X-ray: These imaging tests may be used to check for damage or compression in your brain, spine, or legs.
  • Blood tests: For instance, a blood sugar test can determine if you have neuropathy caused by diabetes.
  • Nerve conduction tests: To look at how well your nerves work.
  • Electromyography: This is to measure how your leg muscles use electricity.


Treatment for foot drop depends on what is causing it. In some cases, fixing foot drop means curing the reason. If the reason is a long-term illness, like MS or ALS, the foot drop may be permanent.

Some treatments include:

  • Physical and occupational therapy: This may help you walk more comfortably by stretching and strengthening your muscles.
  • Orthotics, splints, or braces: Used to assist your foot and ankle in maintaining its normal position.

In certain circumstances, surgery is required to alleviate pressure on the peroneal nerve or attempt to heal it.

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