Welcome to my blog! My name is Geoff. I have always been a sporty kind of chap. I love to go long distance running and I also play football and rugby. One day after a long run, I had a terrible pain in my foot. I thought I had just been overdoing it a little bit, so I decided to rest up. A week later, it was no better. I was still in a lot of pain and had to drop out of a couple of football matches. My doctor sent me to see a podiatrist who examined my foot and explained I had damaged a ligament. The podiatrist helped me to get back to full health. I decided to start this blog to explain the importance of good foot care.
Drop foot is a common symptom of multiple sclerosis and occurs when muscle weakness makes it difficult to lift the front part of your foot. This weakness can be caused by damage to the nerves in your foot or leg, and in order to take a step with the affected foot, sufferers have to lift their knee and thrust their leg forward. Drop foot can make walking difficult and some people feel self-conscious about the changes to their gait, while others worry about tripping as a result of their foot dragging. Here's an overview of two ways a podiatrist can treat drop foot:
Functional Electrical Stimulation
Functional electrical stimulation is used to stimulate damaged nerves in the leg and foot, and this causes muscles to contract and lift the front of your foot. The treatment uses electrical signals and manipulates your foot to move in the way it would if the nerves were intact. Your podiatrist will assess your suitability for functional electrical stimulation by observing how you currently walk and confirming with your doctor that the nerve fibres for your spinal cord are not damaged, as these nerves are required to transmit information to your brain.
Functional electrical stimulation requires a control box and a sensor. The control box can be worn around your waist and the sensor is placed on the inner sole of your shoe. The sensor detects movement when you are about to take a step, and it's connected to electrodes that are applied to the back of the knee with adhesive. When the sensor detects movement it stimulates muscles in your leg, forcing them to contract and pull your foot up to the angle required to take a normal heel-to-toe step. This treatment is painless, but it can take some practice to get used to positioning the sensor and electrodes. Your podiatrist will work with you until you are comfortable using the device.
An ankle-foot orthosis is a brace used to hold your foot straight and prevent it dragging when you walk. It's custom-made using measurements taken by your podiatrist and supports the foot muscles your podiatrist has identified as being weak. This treatment doesn't solve the problem caused by damaged nerves in your foot, so your heel-to-toe step won't improve, but it can prevent falls or further injury to the affected foot by holding it in a better position.
If you've developed drop foot, or if you have concerns about the impact of multiple sclerosis on your foot health, schedule an appointment with a podiatrist to have your feet assessed.Share