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:

  • Nerve injury. The most common cause of foot drop is compression of the nerve that controls the muscles involved in lifting the foot. This can happen at the knee or in the lower spine. The nerve can also be injured during hip or knee replacement surgery. Long-term nerve damage associated with diabetes can also cause 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.
Nov. 10, 2011

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