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Foot Drop

Foot Drop involves a difficulty in lifting the front part of the foot, which can causes challenges while walking. It’s a common symptom of multiple sclerosis (MS), but it can also be caused by other neurological syndromes or physical damage to a nerve.

What is Foot Drop?

Foot Drop (or drop foot) as the name indicates, refer to an inability to move or lift the anterior part of the foot. In other words, individuals with foot drop are forced to drag the foot while walking. This increases the risk of stress and strain of the mid- and hind-foot, leading to a variety of complications.

Foot Drop

Signs and Symptoms of Foot Drop

Foot Drop presents as:

  • inability to lift the foot
  • loss of sensations
  • swelling or redness
  • signs of infection/ inflammation

Causes of Foot Drop

Foot drop is not a medical condition or disease. It is often caused by a multitude of neurological, anatomical and muscular ailments; such as:

  • Muscle paralysis or weakness caused by polio and muscular dystrophy etc.
  • Neuronal abnormalities in the setting of poorly controlled diabetes mellitus, sports related traumatic injuries and sports or a severe infection
  • Spinal damage caused by serious accidents, multiple sclerosis, stroke

Statistics and Epidemiology related to Foot Drop

One of every 600 individuals develop foot drop each year according to latest estimates (1). In the absence of interventions, the condition may significantly increase economic burden on the families and communities.


Sackley, C., Disler, P. B., Turner-Stokes, L., Wade, D. T., Brittle, N., & Hoppitt, T. (2009). Rehabilitation interventions for foot drop in neuromuscular disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 3(3).

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