Foot drop is caused by weakness or paralysis of the muscles involved in lifting the front part of the foot. The underlying causes of foot drop are varied and may include:
Nov. 27, 2014
- Nerve injury. The most common cause of foot drop is compression of a nerve in your leg that controls the muscles involved in lifting the foot. This nerve can also be injured during hip or knee replacement surgery, which may cause foot drop. A nerve root injury ("pinched nerve") in the spine can also cause foot drop. People who have diabetes are more susceptible to nerve disorders, which are associated with foot drop.
- Muscle or nerve disorders. Various forms of muscular dystrophy, an inherited disease that causes progressive muscle weakness, may contribute to foot drop. Other disorders, such as polio or Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, also can cause foot drop.
- Brain and spinal cord disorders. Disorders that affect the spinal cord or brain — such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), multiple sclerosis or stroke — may cause foot drop.
- Stewart JD. Foot drop: Where, why and what to do? Practical Neurology. 2008;8:158.
- NINDS foot drop information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/foot_drop/foot_drop.htm. Accessed Oct. 6, 2014.
- Daroff RB, et al. Bradley's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Sept. 6, 2011.
- Neurological diagnostic tests and procedures. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/misc/diagnostic_tests.htm. Accessed Oct. 6, 2014.
- Sackley C, et al. Rehabilitation interventions for foot drop in neuromuscular disease (Review). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD003908.pub3/abstract. Accessed Oct. 6, 2014.
- Preventing falls and related fractures. NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/bone/Osteoporosis/Fracture/prevent_falls.asp. Accessed Oct. 6. 2014.