You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or regular health care provider. Depending on the suspected cause of foot drop, you may be referred to a doctor who specializes in brain and nerve disorders (neurologist).
Because appointments can be brief, and because there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to be well prepared for your appointment. Here's some information to help you.
What you can do
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Take note of key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications, as well as any vitamins or supplements, that you're taking.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor. Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time together.
For foot drop, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What's causing my symptoms?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
- What treatment do you recommend?
- Do you have any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions anytime you don't understand something.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:
Nov. 10, 2011
- When did you first notice symptoms?
- Are your symptoms present all the time, or do they come and go?
- Does anything seem to make your symptoms better?
- Does anything seem to make your symptoms worse?
- Do you notice any weakness in your legs?
- Does your foot slap the floor when you walk?
- Do you have numbness or tingling in your foot or leg?
- Do you have a history of diabetes?
- Do you have any other muscle weakness?
- 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 Sept. 6, 2011.
- Ropper AH, et al. Disorders of stance and gait. In: Ropper AH, et al. Adams & Victor's Principles of Neurology. 9th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Medical; 2009. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aid=3630849. Accessed Sept. 6, 2011.
- Thompson PD. Gait disorders. In: Bradley WG, et al. Neurology in Clinical Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Butterworth-Heinemann Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-7506-7525-3..X5001-8--TOP&isbn=978-0-7506-7525-3&uniqId=230100505-57. 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 Sept. 6, 2011.
- Sackley C, et al. Rehabilitation interventions for foot drop in neuromuscular disease (Review). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2009:CD003908. http://www2.cochrane.org/reviews. Accessed Sept. 6, 2011.
- Spinner RJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Sept. 21, 2011.
- 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 Sept. 6. 2011.