Drop Foot

Drop foot refers to the inability to lift the front part of one’s foot off the ground when walking, resulting in a scuffing or dragging of the foot or lifting the thigh (known as “steppage” gait). It is most often caused by nerve or muscle disorders or damage or by a central nervous system disorder.

Drop foot is usually diagnosed by physical examination, although additional testing may be recommended. Treatment may include use of braces, physical therapy and electrical nerve stimulation. In some cases, surgery may be required.

That Pain in Your Back Could be Linked to Your Feet

If your lower back has been hurting, and you do not remember doing anything to injure it, the source of your pain could be your feet. Foot pain is something that many people try to ignore. After all, doesn’t everyone’s feet hurt now and then? But if foot pain is something that has been with you for quite a while, it could be causing problems in your ankles, knees, hips and even your back.

That old song, “The leg bone’s connected to the thigh bone. The thigh bone’s connected to the hip bone…,” tells the whole story. Our bodies are like a chain, with one link—or bone—connecting at the joint to another link. Think about what would happen if the first link in the chain was out of position. The point at which it meets the next link would eventually overstress that link and adversely affect the entire chain.

That is what happens when we have foot pain. If the normal way of walking is painful, we instinctively change our walking pattern. Say you have arthritis and your big toe joint hurts, so you change your gait to avoid bending the joint when you walk. Changing your gait changes the mechanics of your ankle joint, eventually causing ankle pain. This change in your walking pattern can also affect the whole chain of your lower body from the ankle, to the knee, to the hip and then to the lower back.

When foot pain or a foot deformity causes you to change the way you walk, it changes the way the bones of all those other joints move with each other. Cartilage in the joints can wear down, ligaments and tendons can be stressed beyond their normal range and arthritis can set in.

If your feet or ankles are not working right, do not ignore them. Contact a foot and ankle surgeon for an evaluation. Your back (and knees and hips) will thank you!!

Seniors Can Help Reduce Risk of Falling by Fixing Painful Feet

dropfootIt’s just not true that foot pain is a normal consequence of growing older. In addition to healthy feet and ankles contributing to a full and active lifestyle, they can also help reduce a senior’s risk for dangerous and deadly falls.

Falls have become the leading cause of injury deaths among Americans age 65 and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Painful foot conditions, such as osteoarthritis, corns, bunions, hammertoes and diabetes complications, can make it difficult for seniors to maintain balance and coordination when walking or standing.

Lower-body weakness and gait and balance problems are frequently cited risk factors for falls among seniors. Exercises to enhance lower-body strength can reduce this risk. But for seniors with painful foot and ankle conditions, exercise can be difficult.

Just one fall can permanently rob seniors of their independence and dramatically reduce their quality of life. Minimizing or eliminating foot pain in seniors improves their balance, coordination and stability when walking or standing.

A foot and ankle surgeon can recommend simple, effective pain relief measures, such as stretching exercises or padding for painful corns and hammertoes. But when surgery is the most appropriate treatment for a senior’s painful feet, simple surgical techniques often allow treatment to be performed on an outpatient basis.