What You Need to Know About Foot Drop and FES Devices

What You Need to Know About Foot Drop and FES Devices

Friday, 02 July 2021 15:26

Walking, running, and hiking are a way of life in western North Carolina. Our area is surrounded by thousands of miles of greenways and backcountry trails to explore. Downtown Asheville and surrounding neighborhoods are walkable, with plenty to see and do while you're on foot. However, if you have a condition such as foot drop, you may find this area is challenging.

Here is what you need to know about foot drop and how you can find help. 

What Is Foot Drop?

When you walk, you may notice that it is difficult to raise the front half of your foot or that it drags on the ground. This is known as "foot drop." It can sometimes resolve itself, and your life - and your stride - returns to normal. It can also be a long-term problem. What causes foot drop, and what can you do about it if you're experiencing it?

What Causes Foot Drop?

In and of itself, foot drop is not a sickness. Instead, it's a symptom of a problem with your anatomical, muscular, or neurological systems. Among the most common reasons are:

  • Damage or injury to the nerves. The peroneal nerve, which is situated in the leg, is responsible for lifting the foot. Foot drop can occur if this nerve is injured or compressed. The most prevalent cause of foot drop is this. This problem can also be caused by pinched nerves in the spine.
  • Knee or hip replacement surgery is a procedure that replaces a joint in the body. Foot drop can occur if the peroneal nerve is injured after surgery.
  • Nerve and muscle disorders. Foot drop can be caused by a variety of medical disorders, including muscular dystrophy and Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.
  • Disorders of the brain and spinal cord. Multiple sclerosis, stroke, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis can all induce foot drop (ALS).
  • Diabetes. Diabetes patients are often more likely to have foot drop.
  • Other causes. Some other causes include frequently crossing your legs, extended periods of kneeling or squatting, or wearing a cast on your leg. 

Is there anything you can do for foot drop? 

Foot Drop Can Be Improved by FES Devices Such As the WalkAide

The WalkAide is an FES device that overcomes dorsiflexor weakness or paralysis by stimulating the peroneal nerve at the right time throughout the gait cycle to raise the forefoot, ensuring ground clearance and a proper heel-to-toe rollover. 

As a consequence, the gait becomes more natural, smoother, safer, and energy-efficient. The WalkAide not only corrects biomechanical dysfunction but also improves circulation, reduces atrophy, and increases joint range of motion by replicating the normal nerve-to-muscle reaction. 

A battery-operated electrical stimulator, two electrodes, and electrode leads are bundled into a compact casing that is kept in place by a cuff on the afflicted leg right below the knee. 

The WalkAide offers some patients with an improved stride, enhanced comfort, and a more natural look as compared to an ankle-foot orthosis (AFO).

Lower motor neuron and/or peripheral nerve injury; subsequent complications of knee, back, or hip surgery; leg trauma; sciatica; peripheral neuropathy; spinal stenosis; post-polio syndrome; and Guillain-Barre syndrome are all WalkAide contraindications. 

Individuals who have a pacemaker or who have seizures should not use the WalkAide.

How Can FES Devices Like the WalkAide Help?

FES devices can help patients struggling with foot drop improve their mobility in many ways, including:

  • Being able to walk faster
  • Improved stability while walking 
  • Improved balance and reduced risk of falling
  • Less tightness and cramping of muscles 
  • Improved blood flow 
  • More opportunity to exercise and perform daily tasks

If you are experiencing foot drop, you can work with your doctor and rehabilitation team to determine if an FES device is right for you. If it is, here is what you need to know about where to find the right one.

Where Can You Find FES Devices?

Orthopedic Appliance Company in Asheville is here to help people find relief from the effects of foot drop. You can trust the team of professionals here at OAC to provide the highest quality orthopedic devices, including WalkAide. 

Our company was established in 1960 for the purpose of providing custom-made orthopedic bracing and artificial limbs to the people of Western North Carolina. If you would like to know more information about FES devices in the Asheville area, contact Orthopedic Appliance Company today