6 Common Causes of Foot Drop and How To Prevent It

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Think of your feet as the foundation of your body. They support you when you stand, walk, and run. So it’s no surprise that when something goes wrong with them, it can impact the rest of your body. One common issue that can affect your feet is foot drop. This occurs when you have trouble lifting your foot properly, making walking and running difficult. There are several causes of foot drop, but fortunately, there are ways to prevent it.

1. Muscle Weakness

One of the most common causes of foot drop is muscle weakness. This can be due to various conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, or muscular dystrophy. Muscle weakness can also be caused by an injury, such as a stroke or a spinal cord injury. 

If you have any type of condition that causes muscle weakness, it’s important to get treatment to prevent foot drops. An AFO brace for foot drop can also help to prevent this condition.

2. Nerve Damage

Another common cause of foot drop is nerve damage. This can be caused by diabetes, alcoholism, or certain types of cancer. Nerve damage can also occur due to an injury, such as a car accident or a fall. If you have any type of condition that can cause nerve damage, it’s important to get treatment to prevent foot drops.

Many conditions can cause nerve damage. Some of the most common include:

  • Diabetes: A condition where the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or can’t properly use the insulin it produces. This can lead to high blood sugar levels, damaging nerves over time.
  • Alcoholism: Chronic alcohol abuse can lead to nerve damage. This is because the alcohol prevents the body from absorbing vitamin B, which is essential for healthy nerve function.
  • Cancer: Certain types of cancer, such as leukemia and lymphoma, can cause nerve damage. This is often due to the cancer cells crowding healthy cells and preventing them from getting the necessary nutrients.

3. Arthritis

Arthritis is another common cause of foot drop. This condition causes inflammation in the joints, leading to pain and stiffness. If you have arthritis, it’s important to get treatment so that you can prevent foot drops from occurring.

Statistics show that about 1 in 3 adults over 65 have arthritis. There are many different types of arthritis, but the most common include:

  • Osteoarthritis: This is the most common type of arthritis. It’s caused by wear and tears on the joints over time.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: This is a type of autoimmune disease. The body’s immune system attacks the tissues around the joints, causing inflammation.
  • Psoriatic arthritis: This is a type of arthritis that occurs in people with psoriasis. Psoriasis is a condition that causes red, scaly patches on the skin. About 30% of people with psoriasis also develop psoriatic arthritis.

4. Foot injuries

Foot injuries are another common cause of foot drop. These injuries can be caused by various things, such as falls, car accidents, or sports injuries. If you have any type of foot injury, it’s important to get treatment to prevent foot drops.

5. Surgery

Surgery is another common cause of foot drop. This is usually due to a condition that requires the surgical removal of a bone, such as cancer. Surgery can also be required to treat an injury like a broken bone. If you have any type of surgery, it’s important to get treatment so that you can prevent foot drops from occurring.

6. Obesity

Obesity is another common cause of foot drop. This is because obesity can put extra strain on the feet and ankles, which can lead to pain and difficulty walking. If you are obese, it’s important to get treatment so that you can prevent foot drops from occurring.

If you are experiencing any symptoms of foot drop, such as difficulty walking or lifting your foot, it’s important to see a doctor so that they can diagnose the cause and provide proper treatment. 

Treatment for foot drop may include physical therapy, orthotics, or surgery. In some cases, foot drop may resolve on its own with time. However, surgery may be necessary to correct the problem if the condition is severe or does not improve with conservative treatment.

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