Forum

Foot Drop

Hello

My physiotherapist tells me to help prevent foot drop, some of her N.H.S MS patients wear boots overnight. They look like ski boots! Please tell me of anyone’s experiences with these boots? Surely there must be a friendlier equivalent privately?

The best solution to drop foot I have found is the remarkable FES and your GP can refer you for an assessment. Take a look and see if you think it can help. How do I receive treatment? | Odstock Medical Ltd (OML)

I can’t see how isolating the foot will do anything other than allow muscles to waste, but I am not a physio.

I agree with Whammel. Putting your foot in a boot overnight sounds like it could be worse than doing nothing (also not a physiotherapist, but a long term user of various aids for foot-drop).

The best solution is indeed the FES. Most local CCGs (Clinical Commissioning Groups - they make the NHS rules for your local area) will fund FES, although some do not. My own CCG (Coastal West Sussex) does not routinely for MS, unless you are an ‘exceptional’ case. In fact it’s impossible to demonstrate you are exceptional. But ask your GP for a referral to Odstock Medical. They are based in Sussex but have outreach clinics all around the country.

Meanwhile, there are many products to help you walk with foot-drop. You can get a referral from your GP or neurologist to your local Orthotics department at the hospital. They can get you a foot brace, known as an Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO) on the NHS. This keeps your foot in a suitable position for walking. But some of these can be awkward / uncomfortable. My local Orthotics department once ordered an AFO for me, then when I went for the appointment to fit the AFO, the technician realised it would not work. Apparently my foot/heel was the wrong shape!

Then there are more flexible devices such as Foot-Up® for Drop Foot - Drop Foot Support - Össur Webshop and https://www.orthotix.co.uk/shop/ankle-and-foot/boxia-drop-foot-afo/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIz5zwkcyn4wIVxYbVCh1eIAdeEAQYASABEgL8RvD_BwE Both of these work on the same principle. A strap goes around your ankle, does up with Velcro and is attached to your shoe (or a shoeless wrap) by some form of elastic. They work alright, they’re not as good as FES, but are cheaper and easier to use. I often use one of these when I’m in a ‘legs won’t walk far’ kind of phase (which I am at the moment following a relapse).

The last type of device is a Silicon Ankle Foot Orthosis (SAFO). This is a custom made boot type thing that is made from a plaster cast of your foot. They cost quite a lot but some people swear by them (personally I find it’s virtually impossible to get shoes on over the foot with the SAFO on it!). The website is here: SAFO: Silicone Ankle Foot Orthosis | Dorset Orthopaedic

Whatever you try out, your physiotherapist will be very handy to help you out! (Or should be.) My physio has got me Foot-ups and a Boxia.

Best of luck.

Sue

Great advice from Sue. I have used a SAFO for over 10 years now and it has done wonders for my dropped foot.

cant for the life of me figure out how wearing a boot overnight will help - unless your a serial sleepwalker.

derek