Numb foot and leg

Does anyone suffer with numbness in leg and foot? I get so numb that I drag my leg because I can’t feel my foot to lift it and walk. Any ideas how I can excersise to feel again??

Hi Mina,

I’ve had that, so annoying. Could just be a relapse and feeling will come back.

If you have an MS nurse, maybe contact them and see if you can be referred to a neurological physio.

Take care and concentrate on your walking so you don’t trip up.


Hi Mina, I’ve had a numb foot, foot drop and heavy leg for several years now. I was finally diagnosed with ppms in November so unfortunately it’s here to stay and, if the last year is anything to go by it will get worse. I was given a plastic splint by orthotics but it hurts too much to wear. I’m seeing a neuro physio next month and will ask about a foot-up but not sure it will work for me as I go over on my ankle very easily… three bad sprains last year. If I get any good tips from the physio in Feb I will pass them on to you. Karen

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Hi Sugar

Has anyone ever suggested you try FES? (More to the point, does your local NHS pay for it? Most do, but some don’t grrr!) you could ask the physio whether there’s any chance of getting it.

You could go back to Orthotics and see if they have an alternative to the splint they’ve given you which hurts.

A foot-up might actually stabilise your ankle as the strap round the ankle is fairly stiff and supportive. You do really need to be wearing fairly robust lace up shoes to make it work well, I wear plimsoles mostly and the laces do a reasonable job of making the foot just lift as necessary.

Once you see the physiotherapist, ask if they can get you one. Even if it doesn’t work that well, it’s better than tripping over your own feet, or doing damage to your hip by ‘hitching’ your leg to compensate for the dropped foot.


Thanks Ssue. Ive read up on the fes but I really struggle with going over on my ankle and wear either an ankle support or sturdy boots so I’m not sure. I will ask the physio about both next month… I really need to get my confidence up and get out on my own. Karen

Sneaking in here to add it cannot always pick up my right leg from the knee. My knee won’t always bend. Any helpful ideas anyone would be great.

Hi Pops

FES can help pick your knee up as well as your foot. Does your national health care pay for FES in Ireland?

If so, you could see if the FES would help. Some people have dual channel FES, one channel picks up the foot, and the other stimulates the muscle that makes the knee pick up. (Others have a dual channel unit to pick up both feet.) You could get a single channel version that just stimulates the knee.

(My local NHS doesn’t pay for FES. I self fund it, after the initial set up costs it costs £300 per year. But the initial costs are quite a bit. Bloody NHS/CCG!)

It’s worth looking into. Anything to stay mobile.


Storm. My MS nurse has as much personality as a rottweiler with toothache. She’s the one and only available and works for/with my neurologist, who is the only one in the county. The nurse is based in the Private local hospital and though she’s meant to be a source of contact for all, there is a noticeable Them and Us hierarchy system. I’m at the lower end of this. Hi Sue. I’m not even sure if anyone even knows what the FES thing is over here. I’m sure it would have been mentioned to me. I see the neurologist this month and will ask about it.

Hi Poppy I too have a knee that does not like bending. I use a double FES and apply two electrodes to my lower leg,one of which is placed behind my knee, the other two electrodes are placed on my thigh to encourage some lift from my hip. The electrodes do not perform miracles but I can manage a short distance. My neuro physio gave me a simple exercise to help my knee and that was to lay on my front and lift affected leg. At first I had to use my stronger leg to lift my weak one but I can now manage to lift my leg in that position. Again no miracles but it has loosened my leg muscles a little. Sue

Hi Karen I have a weak ankle and I use FES and this does help stabilise my ankle. I over pronate which really aggravates my ankle. I also wear orthotics and trainers and use a walking stick. If FES is available to you it is worth trying. Sue

Thanks Sue, I’ll definitely be asking about the FES. I see the physio team on Tuesday and see what they say.

It’s all a postcode lottery, or rather in Poppy’s case, a country lottery. There are some brilliant things about living in Ireland, and some truly crappy things. Equally, the NHS does some stuff really well, and other things poorly. And where you live makes a hell of a difference, even within the same country. For example, the different experiences we have from Wheelchair Services, and provision of FES differ so much from CCG to CCG.

So I may have to pay for FES, and have a bog standard (cheap and a bit clunky) wheelchair, but I have a brilliant MS nurse and Neurological Rehab team. It all balances out I think.


Agreed Sue. I cannot fault the care and service I have received from everyone I’ve had dealings with since my diagnosis three and a half years ago. I was assessed for and given a super lightweight Helium Quickie manual wheelchair and my ot (obviously experienced in her job and knew what was in store for me) quickly organised a reconditioned motorised chair when one came available.

The local ms society that I try to attend each week have been amazing too. Tea and cake, reflexology session or massage and a good time to chat.

When I casually mentioned in conversation, that I can’t always get up from my chair in the living room, I had a phonecall next day telling me they would fund a riser/recliner chair for me. My choice and no expense spared.

My neurologist is a special lady and we have a good relationship. She listens to me and my questions or requests and will reason with me. I’ll include the fes in our next meeting.

I knew from previous threads that you have a fantastic wheelchair service and you’d said about the OT as well. We have some good things from our NHS in the U.K., but we live in a world of postcode lottery madness. Some people have a superb choice of wheelchairs and various products to help in the home, while others have a ‘one size and shape fits all’ kind of service. The thing I’m most miffed about is that FES isn’t available on the NHS for all. Most areas it is, but some (mine included) it’s not.

Definitely talk to your neurologist about FES, it could make a world of difference for you.


A productive hour long session with a senior physiotherapist today. I was pushed, pulled and pummelled while she made notes all the time. FES is certainly not funded by the HSE(NHS) over here. She talked about the 3 available devices and was amazed how I was never offered one. I can’t remember the name of them. One was a plastic rigid support that runs from below the back of the knee, along the calf and under the foot, within the shoe. Never had suitable shoes today so returning next week for another trial. Second was a velcro band with available hooks to insert into the eyelets of shoe. Ditto above. Third was a Foot Up? Velcro cuff above the ankle and a second one around the foot and they clasp together. I came away with the latter, a printed clutch of exercises to be done and a feeling of hope that all is not lost. I cannot regain what is lost but perhaps I can hold on to what I still have.

Hi Poppy

It sounds like option one would be a type of AFO (Ankle Foot Orthotic), being a rigid device that keeps your foot in the right place to walk.

Option two might have been a Boxia: or something very like it.

And option three as Storm said sounds like you’ve been given a Foot-up, but only the shoeless version. The ordinary version does require that you wear shoes that lace up (so high tops or plimsolls, which I wear a lot) are pretty ideal. I used to use it effectively with Ecco shoes with Velcro fastenings. This is the usual version: Foot-Up® for Drop Foot - Drop Foot Support - Össur Webshop

At least having something that allows you to do some walking without damaging your hip muscles (from hitching your foot up or swinging it out) will help.


You are spot on Sue. The links are exactly what I was shown. I’ll get some higher front trainers for next week.


Yes I’d really appreciate any advice I can get. I’m really surprised you were diagnosed with ppms my consultant told me they don’t differentiate between types because they were getting sued for misdiagnosis. I’ve only ever had relapses but they have always gone but this time it just seems to be getting worse. It’s quite scary as I’m sure everyone on this site will understand. Please let me know how you get on.

Wow I feel really bad for you if that’s the support you feel from your ms nurse/specialist that’s so bad. My nurse is great and has even been on the other end of the phone for me when I’ve just sat and cried. Unfortunately the waiting times to be referred for physio neurologist are long. It took me 5 months just to see my nurse. At least the ball is rolling. I will definitely be asking about fes and I’ve even read about one you get implanted into your leg on the NHS but not everywhere can get it.

Will see what happens on my next appointment in July.