Foot Drop or Drop Foot

Foot drop

is a term that is used to describe the dropping of the foot or inability to raise the foot. There are many causes of foot drop including stroke, Charcot Marie Tooth Disease (CMT), diabetic neuropathy, multiple sclerosis (MS) and injury to the back or peroneal nerve.

When a person is unable to lift the foot, the drops downwards and becomes a hazard for catching, tripping and falling. The person will therefore compensate by lifting the knee higher and by flexing more at the hip and knee to clear the ground. The extra effort required to swing the leg forward and lift the knee and foot higher often causes the person to tire quickly due to the increased energy expenditure.

Signs of foot drop:

  • an audible "foot slap" as the person is unable to control the foot hitting the ground so the foot slaps the floor
  • a high steppage gait with knees lifting higher during each step
  • tripping
  • falling
  • dragging the foot

In order to make walking more safer and more efficient, people will often turn to orthotic interventions. The particular design and style of bracing orthosis is dependent on the exact needs of the individual. The most common treatment options are:

Ankle foot orthoses (AFO), including articulated AFO's, flexible or "shoe horn" AFO's.

AFOs provide ankle stability and control of ankle motion to protect the feet.



Silicone Ankle Foot Orthoses (SAFO).

The SAFO supports the front of your leg down to the top of your foot, using a soft silicone material.




The WalkAide system.

The WalkAide uses Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) to stimulate muscles to lift the foot at the appropriate times during the gait cycle.