Drop Foot Question

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    Hello, I was diagnosed with GBS in May 06, but Neurologist agreed that all the history and symptoms definitely point to CIDP. I experienced drop foot in April, which in turn caused a horrible fall in late April. After diagnosis, I had an AFO for my right foot. After hospitalization IVIG’s and alot of PT, I gracefully fell and fractured my left ankle. When the cast came off a few weeks ago I had drop foot in my left one also. I had a full leg AFO made for my right foot, but the off the counter left AFO seems to be working. I am finally able to “walk” using the walker. Isn’t pretty, but I am working on it. I will have my 6th IVIG on the 29th.
    What I would like to ask has anyone recovered movement from a drop foot? What exercises help?
    Everyone is so supportive on here– I have read alot. I got a power chair and it sure helps with independence and I can do so much more when in it.
    Thanks for listening. Regina




    I was lucky in that my foot drop went away within weeks of starting to take prednisone. I never broke anything but I sure do remember the near misses. I am still very careful walking and have completely given up dainty shoes and loose slippers.

    To strengthen my ankles I would try to write the alphabet with each foot. At first I could only do a couple of letters.

    I sleep with a bolster at the foot of the bed to keep the weight of the blankets off my feet.

    Be patient and be careful not to over exercise. You cannot force the nerves in any one part of your body to heal faster through will power.




    Flossie can you explain what a foot drop is? My Dad had a stroke and he is paralize on his right side so his right leg doesn’t co-operate. I was wondering if having an AFO on that leg would help him walk. I believe the hospital has given up on him.

    Any information by anyone would be appreciated. 🙂





    I suspect that your father’s stroke is complicating matters for his physical therapist. I believe that problems with “foot drop” are specific to neuropathies while stroke damage is additional and different.

    But do not let them give up. At the very least he needs to be given range of motion therapy so his muscles don’t atrophy. I remember someone saying they wore high top sneakers in the hospital bed to keep the foot muscles flexed.

    Here is a definition of Foot drop from a Multiple Sclerosis site:

    “A condition of weakness in the muscles of the foot and ankle, caused by poor nerve conduction, which interferes with a person’s ability to flex the ankle and walk with a normal heel-toe pattern. The toes touch the ground before the heel, causing the person to trip or lose balance.”

    A more detailed article is at:

    “Foot drop is caused by weakness that occurs in specific muscles of the ankle and the foot. The affected muscles participate in the downward and upward movement of the ankle and the foot. The specific muscles include the anterior tibialis, extensor hallucis longus, and the extensor digitorum longus. The normal function of these muscles is to allow the toes to swing up from the ground during the beginning of a stride and to control the movement of the foot following the planting of the heel towards the end of the stride. Abnormal muscle function makes it difficult to prevent the toes from clearing the ground during the stride. Some people with foot drop walk with a very exaggerated swinging hip motion to help prevent the toes from catching on the ground. Another symptom of foot drop, which occurs as the foot is planted, is an uncontrolled slapping of the foot on the ground.”
    “Visual examination of the foot can include routine photographs, magnetic resonance imaging or magnetic resonance neurography (both of which are useful in visualizing areas surrounding damaged nerves). An electromyelogram can be useful in distinguishing between the different types of nerve damage that can be responsible for foot drop.”
    “Depending on the nature of the cause of foot drop, recovery can be partial or complete. Physical therapy and an ankle foot orthotic device worn in the shoe are important aspects of rehabilitation.”

    I do not know anything about orthotics but found this generic info at

    ” An ankle-foot orthosis compensates for footdrop by stabilizing the ankle and overcoming the tendency of toes to catch on edges of curbs and carpets [25]. A brace that keeps the wrists and fingers in a neutral position may help patients with weakness of wrist and finger extensors. In general, soft-soled, loose-fitting shoes with thick socks are helpful. Nightly foot soaking (e.g., 15 to 20 minutes in cold tap water without ice) often helps relieve foot pain. In patients with neuropathy involving the feet, learning to inspect their feet daily for undetected injuries is important.”

    I hope this was helpful.



    Thank You Flossy it was very helpfull I copied and paste your post to my computer so I can go back to it for referall when I need to(my memory is bad).




    My wife has foot drop, both feet. She has yet to recover from that, although we just received information about something called walk-aide. It is supposed to allow you to walk with the assitance of the AFOs. My wife is very excited about the possibilities.



    I had a mild stroke in 2000 on my right side. I was fitted with a AFO because of drop foot and it helped alot. I also have severe foot pain and I have found that Dr. Scholls tennis shoe with the gel in the heel helps with the pain and I do not have to remove the inner sole for my AFO to fit. I highly recommend them. I hope your Dad improves. Good Luck!



    LKT5031 Thank You. I hope my Dad gets better soon also. It’s hard to seem him like that. I talked to my Dad’s nurse. My Dad does not have foot drop. But he walked like he was bulleged(sp?) when he tries real hard to walk a few steps.





    Don’t let them give up on your father’s recovery. As many of us know here, medical people are often unduly pessimistic about this. So many recover far more than the doctors and therapists predicted. The same is true for stroke patient.

    Best wishes for his recovery.




    Ben has drop foot in the left foot. He had GBS 2/05. At a meeting in July, they said the nerves in the feet regenerate slowest, especially the top of the foot close to the ankle. Ben also has mild paralysis in his face around his lips. I heard that would take some time to regenerate too.




    I have foot drop following a motorcycle injury, which injured my sciatic and peroneal nerves. I’ve had several different AFO’s which helped but not significantly. I recently received a toe-off AFO which was a god send. I can now walk comfortably and I can even jog on a treadmill. If anyone needs an AFO, look into a toe-off. It may make your life better like it did mine. Best of luck and GOD bless



    I also have had footdrop on both sides. The left side is worse MAYBE because I sprained my ankle really badly twenty years ago. Although I compensated fine before the GBS, I cannot any more. The reason I say this is that your footdrop, Regina, on the right (newest side) might have a component of additional weakness of the ankle after having been casted. I hope that it is the case because then PT will help a lot!

    The nerves to the ankle are almost the longest in the body and so especially vulnerable with a diffuse process that damages nerves like GBS/CIDP. This is why foot drop is not too unusual, I am told. Drop foot is sometimes called slap foot and this is a good practical explanation. When people try to walk their feet slap down. Because I cannot lift my toes, my toes catch often, especially if I am tired and it is easy to fall. I tried to compensate using a high stepping gait or swinging my leg around, but these are really tiring

    I cannot answer about recovery, but I have read that people recover from foot drop from this disease–it just can take a long time. My neurologist says that nerves heal on federal government time!

    I used to use an off the shelf AFO on one side and now have springed, stoppered AFOs for both sides. This helps a lot because I can get some “push off” from my toes, but the toes cannot fall down and slap enough to trip. It also helped to have both sides have the same thing–so that I did not walk lopsided.

    Regarding exercises, I do four exercises for this specifically. First standing by a counter, I raise on my toes and down. I use a counter because I am tall, but a stable chair would work. Second, I try to raise my toes up and stand on my heels (holding on to the counter because this is really hard to do for me). Also, I got an elastic band from PT and use this looped around the toes to push down against and, separately, pull up the feet at the ankles. Lots of people in the forum have talked about pool walking (which I would guess would strengthen all the leg muscles without much risk of falling and would seemingly distribute the work out).

    I hope that you all get stronger and no more falls!

    With hope for cure of these diseases.



    Question about purchasing AFO’s….How best to buy these as i would need 2 as both my feet have foot drop very bad. Can we buy them online or better at a local medical supple store where we live. Also will our insurance companies pay for part of the cost if our neurologist writes a prescription i assume. Thanks as i’m really struggling to work much more with full paralysis in my feet as i constantly fall and trip and walk like i’m in the marching band if you catch my drift….

    Thanks everyone….ericc….



    I’ve been using TOEoff AFOs for a year now, on both legs. They’re extremely light weight and have been a God send as I’m less likely to trip, fall and break something. Your Dr should be able to refer you to someone to be fitted. After using the old plastic fitted AFOs I was really happy to get the new ones, the old ones were so uncomfortable.



    [QUOTE=herself]I’ve been using TOEoff AFOs for a year now, on both legs. They’re extremely light weight and have been a God send as I’m less likely to trip, fall and break something. Your Dr should be able to refer you to someone to be fitted. After using the old plastic fitted AFOs I was really happy to get the new ones, the old ones were so uncomfortable.[/QUOTE] Thanks for the info ”herself” as i’ll ask my doc when i see him again….

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