Drop foot

Hi everyone. … Can I ask those who have drop foot if they have purchased an AFO and if so was it on the guidelines of a physiotherapist ? I have started with drop foot and am waiting to see a physio (my MS nurse is referring me ) I am doing exercises for drop foot whilst waiting for refers and read about ankle supports (.AFO ) but it’s baffling to know which 1 is best. Thank you :slight_smile:

The best solution to drop foot I have found is the remarkable FES and it can help build muscle strength, if used regularly. Ask your physio, or get a GP referral. A traditional splint will isolate the foot and muscles just waste, which isn’t terribly helpful.


If you’re looking at AFOs, you should be referred to your local Orthotics department of the hospital. They can look at your problem and get a suitable AFO for you. That’s assuming they’re any good and have sufficient time with each patient! Personally, I saw an orthotist at the hospital, he has 15 minutes for each person, which isn’t long enough. He gave me a lousy thing called a Neurodyn which doesn’t do a very good job and is very difficult to put on. He stuck it on me, didn’t check that I knew how to put it on myself (a very complicated arrangement of Velcro straps) and it gave me a terrible blister on day one.

But, having said that, if your local orthotics department is any better than this, they could do wonders. There are lots of different kinds of AFO available on the NHS.

But Whammel is dead right, an FES is a much better solution. If you can get it on the NHS (and most people can, there are small pockets of the country where it’s not available - where I live in Sussex is one of them) then it does a much finer job than an AFO.

Another solution is a SAFO (silicon ankle foot orthosis). Not available on the NHS and not especially cheap, but some people absolutely swear by them, they are custom moulded to your foot. (A plaster cast is made of your foot and so the AFO which is ultimately made of silicon is an exact fit for your foot.)

But before you go spending any money, see a physiotherapist. They should be able to refer you to an FES clinic (hopefully) and / or the Orthotics clinic, or even as a short term measure get you a Foot-up or similar device to help a bit until you get a more efficient solution.


Tally, Sue’s advice is very sound. I’ve had Drop foot for years. Unfortunately the FES did nothing for me. I’ve used a SAFO for over 10 years now. I’m now on my second one. The first one lasted 8 years and at £800 a pop, has been great value for money for me. Another thing that has helped me is wearing shoes that are very light. Derek

Hello Tally I agree with Whammel the FES is a superb bit of kit. After a spectacular trip several months ago due to drop foot Sue suggested that I would probably benefit from a FES, the physio referred me to see if I was suitable. Keep mine on most of the day and find it really helpful. The first thing I noticed was that I started to look up instead of always looking at the floor - quite remarkable the things I had been missing! It’s also not such an effort to keep lifting one leg higher to avoid tripping. So thank you Sue you are responsible for me seeing more of the world than just the pavement!