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Warning Signs of Foot Drop

Are you having trouble lifting your foot when you walk? You may have common peroneal nerve compression, most often referred to as “foot drop” or “drop foot.” Foot drop makes walking and other physical activities challenging. 

Rather than a condition, foot drop is a symptom of an underlying issue with your peroneal nerve, a nerve on the side of your knee that helps you move and provides feeling to your leg, foot, and toes. 

When this nerve is injured or damaged, your ability to feel and move is affected and can lead to foot drop. If treated promptly, most cases of foot drop resolve completely. Sometimes, however, the underlying condition is severe and foot drop becomes permanent or more complicated to treat. 

As an expert in microsurgery and peripheral nerve surgery, board-certified surgeon Anthony Echo, M.D., in Houston, Texas, is uniquely qualified to understand the cause of foot drop and help patients in the Houston, Texas, area find relief.

Because early medical intervention means a better prognosis, Dr. Echo and our team here at his private practice have gathered the information you need to understand the warning signs of foot drop, the underlying causes, and treatments available. 

How can I tell if I have foot drop?

The best way to know if you have foot drop is to see a nerve expert, like Dr. Echo. Your provider can conduct special tests to accurately diagnose your condition and rule out other disorders that may have overlapping symptoms. There are some warning signs to look for. 

The main sign of foot drop is not being able to lift the front part of your foot. This causes significant trouble when you try to walk, and many people with foot drop try to lift their foot by using their knee, as if they’re marching or going up stairs.    

Other warning signs of foot drop include:

You may also notice a slapping gait. When this happens, your foot makes a slapping noise every time you step. If you have any of the signs of foot drop, schedule an appointment with Dr. Echo as soon as possible. The longer foot drop goes untreated, the more likely complications will arise. 

Why do people get foot drop?

Since foot drop is actually a symptom of an underlying problem affecting the peroneal nerve and muscles in your leg, it’s important to understand the root cause of your condition to understand why you have foot drop. Many different issues can affect the peroneal nerve, including:

People who have a stroke or who are diagnosed with diabetes are also at higher risk of developing foot drop.     

Are there treatments for foot drop?

Yes! You don’t have to struggle with the symptoms of foot drop. Dr. Echo reviews your medical history, paying special attention to your symptoms, and conducts a clinical exam to better understand your case of common peroneal nerve compression. 

Based on the severity of your symptoms and how long you’ve been struggling with them, Dr. Echo designs a customized foot drop treatment course to meet your needs. In some cases, he may begin with more conservative treatments, like physical therapy, nerve stimulation, or orthopedic bracing. 

If your symptoms don’t improve or if you have long-term foot drop, Dr. Echo may recommend surgical intervention to address the underlying cause of your condition. This surgery releases the pressure on the peroneal nerve, allowing it to regenerate and restore normal movement to your leg and foot.  

Learn more about the warning signs of foot drop or get help for this nerve condition by contacting Anthony Echo, M.D., in Houston, Texas. You can call the Houston office nearest you or request an appointment online at your convenience.

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