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Foot Drop

Has anybody on here got or had foot drop in both feet please? And how does it affect walking?

Marjie x

Hello (again) Marjie

Yes. It’s called foot drop, drop foot and in its early stages often foot slap!

It happens because the perennial nerve has damage and can’t work properly. It’s the nerve that runs down the front/side of your lower leg from just below your knee to the foot. If it doesn’t work right, you have trouble with the phase of walking as you lift your toes to stop them getting in the way of your foot.

If you just try to live with foot drop, it can cause problems with other parts of your body, most of all your hip and/or your knee, because to try to pick up your foot when it doesn’t want to do it on its own puts strain on your knee, your quadriceps (the muscle above your knee), and on your hip if you ‘hitch’ your hip, or swing your leg out.

There are solutions to it, there’s orthotic devices (kind of foot braces), often Ankle Foot Orthoses (AFOs) which keep your foot held steady in the right kind of position. There’s simple devices like https://www.ossur.co.uk/injury-solutions/products/foot-and-ankle/ankle-foot-orthosis/foot-up which work fairly well for a while but the elastic does get fatigued and you have to be wearing the right kind of shoe. There’s also a SAFO, which is an AFO made of silicon and custom made to exactly fit your foot (quite expensive, not available on the NHS and also quite bulky).

Or there’s FES, aka Functional Electrical Stimulation. There are various types available, often available on the NHS (though not in my area - probably OK where you are though) - the most common is the Pace unit made by Odstock (in Salisbury, though they do have clinics elsewhere in the country). The idea is that an electrode stimulates the nerve just below the knee and tells the foot to pick up. I use one of these, even though I can only walk a tiny bit, it’s more about exercise for me, but for many people, FES keeps them walking properly. See http://www.odstockmedical.com/

I hope this helps. Have a look at https://www.mstrust.org.uk/a-z/foot-drop or https://www.mssociety.org.uk/comparing-foot-drop-treatments

Sue

Hi Sue, thanks for all the information. I will look into it. Unfortunately my good foot is going numb now which is worrying :frowning:

I have tripped and fallen quite a few times, really hurting myself a couple of times. I also stagger sometimes ( without alcohol ) but luckily I am usually with someone which helps.

Marjie x

After I replied to you, I realised you’d asked about foot drop in both feet. Yes, it does happen. And the same solutions can be used for both feet. Including FES. You can get a two channel control box, which can cope with sorting out two different areas at once, either two parts of the same leg (although it didn’t work on my hip and foot partly because of the difficulty of getting electrodes to work on my hip - it’s all about fattier areas, i.e. my butt).

But you might find out that a crutch might be helpful in the short term. I used to use a crutch around the house and a crutch plus a husband when outside the house!

Sue

Hi marjie, I have a number of symptoms and I was diagnosed with MS in May this year. The tripping up is a weird thing. My whole family notice it. I trip up on both feet but I ignore it for their benefit. But my tripping up is so obvious that the whole family steady m, but none of us address it? I am unsteady on both sides. Warmest regards x x

Thank you Sue and Patience for replying. I am the same when I trip while walking with my daughter or husband, they just laugh and I just say “oops” and carry on. It is so worrying as I have only started with these recent symptoms six months ago even though I think things have been going on for years. I have had the warm water running down my leg feeling years ago and have had dizziness for years too. Six months ago this started with the hug and then I went numb from my right foot up to shoulder but not my arm. I have all the other symptoms fatigue, cognitive problems etc etc. Like everyone else on here I worry what the future holds for me. I am still in limbo land and hope to see a neurologist who specialises in ms in the next couple of months. Thank goodness for this forum !

Marjie xx

Dear Marjie, yes over the years…forgetting words, poor toileting (takes an hour to go), numb thumbs, fingers, toes, pain, pins and needles in my face, lips, arms, legs. And painful joints. And flu like aching and pain across my thighs and buttocks. Oh and I am absolutely finished…knackered by 2pm. It is hard to know what is MS? I try to keep a diary of symptoms. I am now vegan plus fish, I now exercise regularly and take tons of vitamin D3. Even if these steps don’t help, I have dropped a dress size! Warmest regards x

Hi Patience, I have kept a diary from day one which has helped as I would never remember symptoms and dates etc. I eat a healthy diet and take supplements. Vitamin D, B complex, Vitamin K2, Magnesium Citrate (300 mgs per day) and Krill oil phew lol. I too feel drained most afternoons and the severe fatigue was one of the first things I remember together with the burning ribcage. I also have toilet problems as most of us do on here. We only have a loo upstairs which is a nightmare going up and down the stairs so many times a day. Good on you dropping down a dress size!

Marjie x

OMG I have just noticed I put FOOD drop instead of FOOT drop lol. My husband said I have food on the brain and I replied “what brain” lol.

I have now amended it :slight_smile:

Marjie x

When I first replied, I read it as foot drop, it was only later that I noticed. So it’s not just you Marjie.