What is foot drop?

Drop foot is a condition where the foot does not lift up during walking.  Often times this results in falls or a significant change in someone’s normal walking pattern.

What Causes Foot Drop?

Lower Nerve Injury

Peripheral nerve damage can occur when pressure is applied to the nerves that communicate with the muscles in the lower leg. This can occur when there is pressure on the upper portion, common in back injuries or the lower portion of the nerve

Muscle Injury

Swelling after muscle injury can result in compartment syndrome,  where nerve and blood to the muscle is disrupted.

Upper Motor Neuron Damage

An upper motor neuron include nerves in the brain or spinal cord. This can occur following a stroke, and spinal cord injury.  It can also occur in several other conditions affecting the brain and spinal cord, including multiple sclerosis

What is Physical Therapy for Drop Foot?

Functional Electrical Stimulation


Supported Treadmill Training

Strengthening Exercises

Balance Exercises

Foot Drop Exercises

Ankle Passive Range of Motion

Caregiver Instructions: Cup the heel in your hand. Use your forearm to press the foot toward the leg until you feel some resistance.  Use your free hand to stabilize the leg as shown in the picture


Ankle Stretch

Once you are able to stand safety, add these ankle stretches

Instructions: Place the foot you want to stretch in the back and your other foot forward.  Press your hips toward the wall.  Make sure your heel stays on the ground and your back knee stays straight


Ankle Stretch with Bent Knee

Instructions: Place the ankle you want to stretch in the back and your other foot forward.  Press your hips forward.  Keep your heel on the ground and maintain a slight bend your knee that is in the back


Ankle Strengthening

Instructions: Start seated with your knee bent. Try to lift the foot. Think about leading the lifting motion with our pinky toe.  Try to avoid leading with the arch of the foot or the big toe.

Once this becomes easy, try this exercise with the knee straight