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Foot Drop ~ Causes & Orthotic Treatment

Foot drop is characterised by a deformity in which the foot permanently remains in a position of plantar flexion, with functional limitation in performing dorsiflexion. It can be flaccid or spastic, depending on the cause of the paralysis. The foot drop can be reducible or, conversely, the deformity is structured, making realignment impossible.Foot drop is usually accompanied by other disorders, such as equinovarus (club foot) and equinovalgus, and, in some cases, is the result of paralysis of the tibialis anterior or an after-effect of poliomyelitis, stroke or neurological disease, such as multiple sclerosis or Duchenne muscular dystrophy.


Foot Drop Symptoms

The foot is in permanent plantar flexion, which can be reducible, as in flaccid paralysis, or irreducible, as in the case of spastic paralysis or structured deformities. Possible loss of feeling and steppage gait in flaccid paralysis. In irreducible foot drop, hip and knee flexion is evident to compensate for the asymmetry caused by the structured or irreducible plantar flexion.


Drop Foot~Orthotic Treatment

Rehabilitation and surgical treatment, in some cases, also require postural or corrective braces to prevent foot drop, especially in patients that are bedridden for long periods (post-surgery, ICU, etc.). Functional carbon fiber drop foot braces that enable dorsiflexion of the foot during the lift-off phase and plantar flexion in the heel support phase facilitate a more harmonious walking style with lower energy consumption and greater stability. Polypropylene drop foot braces are suitable for flaccid paralysis without severe deformities. In the case of foot drop due to spastic paralysis, Klenzak-type orthoses with spring-loaded ankle joints offer great control, combined with antivarus - valgus straps.

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