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Foot Drop After Knee Surgery: Why You Need to Address It Early

Foot Drop After Knee Surgery: Why You Need to Address It Early

If you’ve had knee surgery and are experiencing symptoms of foot drop, you could have an underlying problem associated with the peroneal nerve. This nerve is located on the side of your knee and sends signals to your toes, foot, and leg so you can move. 

When this nerve is compressed or damaged, it can be difficult to lift the front part of your foot when walking. You might find that you’re raising your knee, like when you go upstairs or march, to get your foot up. Other signs of foot drop include:

If you have any of these warning signs, it’s important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible. With early treatment, most cases of foot drop can be addressed and will resolve, and your normal gait will be restored. 

However, foot drop can become permanent without treatment or, in severe cases, require more complex therapies to resolve. Our board-certified surgeon specializes in diagnosing and treating foot drop at Anthony Echo, M.D., with multiple offices in Houston, Texas.

With expertise in peripheral nerve surgery and microsurgery, Dr. Echo can identify the issue causing your foot drop and create a personalized treatment plan to address your symptoms. Keep reading to learn more about foot drop and why you need medical help soon.

Understanding foot drop after knee surgery

Many types of knee surgery involve anesthesia to help control your pain and comfort during and after your surgery. Patients often receive intravenous (IV) pain medicines and a peripheral nerve block. 

Peripheral nerve blocks reduce your need for opioid pain medicines, which have problematic side effects. However, they can sometimes cause an injury to the nerve, which may lead to foot drop. 

Foot drop after knee surgery is relatively rare (less than 5%), and patients with certain pre-existing factors are at higher risk of developing these complications. These factors include:

Sometimes, however, patients without these risk factors develop foot drop. 

Why early evaluation and treatment are key

If you’re experiencing any signs of foot drop after knee surgery and it doesn’t consistently improve within three months, the sooner you seek medical attention, the better your prognosis will be. Waiting to seek treatment can lead to other complications, including:

It can also lead to permanent changes in your gait. Fortunately, most cases have a good prognosis with treatment.

Personalized foot drop treatments

At Anthony Echo, M.D., our team knows the best treatment plans are personalized to fit your medical history, symptoms, and personal needs. Dr. Echo carefully evaluates your condition to offer customized treatment recommendations for your foot drop, which may include:

When foot drop doesn’t respond to these less invasive methods, Dr. Echo may suggest surgical treatment. Common peroneal nerve compression surgery releases pressure on the nerve so it can heal.

If you’re struggling with foot drop after knee surgery, don’t wait to seek treatment, as early intervention could save your gait. Schedule an appointment online or over the phone at Anthony Echo, M.D., in Houston to get started. 

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