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Foot Drop


Foot drop is a nerve and muscle problem in your leg or ankle that prevents you from flexing or lifting your foot. Foot drop is most often caused by pressure on the nerve in your lower leg. It can also be caused by other kinds of nerve damage, muscle disease, or damage to the brain or spinal cord. Your foot drop may get better or it may be permanent.



  • Pain medicine: You may be given medicine to take away or decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Manage foot drop:

Shift your body position often, and stretch your muscles daily. Make sure your seats are not too hard or too soft. Loosen bandages that feel too tight. Ask your healthcare provider about these and other ways to prevent foot drop.

Reduce your risk of falling:

  • Clear clutter, such as rugs or cords, from areas where you walk in your home.
  • You may be given an ankle brace to support your foot. This will make it easier to walk and help prevent you from falling. It will also help prevent you from dragging your foot. Use the brace whenever you walk, but take it off when lying or sitting down.

Physical therapy:

A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain.

Follow up with your healthcare provider in 4 to 5 days:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • Your symptoms such as numbness, trouble walking, or dragging your toes get worse or do not go away.
  • You have more trouble walking, dressing, or playing sports.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You fall and hurt yourself.
  • The numbness in your legs and feet spreads or worsens.
  • Your pain becomes severe.
  • You develop pain, redness, or swelling in your leg or foot.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Foot Drop (Aftercare Instructions)

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.