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Foot Drop User Group
Any hope for drop foot recovery?
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Foot Drop is a support group. The goal of group is to share information, and connect with others dealing with foot drop. Foot Drop can be caused by stroke, back or spine injury and tumor.

Founded by FMDAdvocate on February 15, 2011
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Any hope for drop foot recovery?

Hi, my name is Jen and I'm 22 years old. This past June I went to the hospital because I suddenly lost use of my left leg. I had a severe herniation at L5S1 pressing on the peronial nerve but the neurosurgeon said that couldn't be the cause. Unfortunately for me, I was seeing neurologists for 3 months telling me it was in my head until I had several spinal orthopedists confirm that the disc was the problem. I had a laminectomy/ disectomy on 9-11 but I'm only being given a 50-50 chance of getting my leg back because so much time had gone by. I have complete drop foot and cannot walk without an AFO. I'm being told that I'll probably have to wear an AFO for the rest of my life. Being an athlete all my life, I'm not too fond of that idea. Has anyone here recovered or know of anything medically that might help drop foot? Thanks
8 Comments
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Avatar_f_tn
i sure pray there is.  i had a cyst removed about 6 weeks ago that traveled down my knee and pressed against the nerve.  6 weeks out and my foot is right where it was before the surgery.  i have about a 7" scar.  i don't know if it was all cyst or they continued to trim away around the nerve.  it was injured before and the surgery "injured" the nerve too.  he said it would be a couple months before i "MAY" see a change.  it was about 3 months from my foot drop loss until the surgery.  i have about 15 months out, and that will be as good as it gets.  i wear the afo to walk and 1 at night.  i do my stretches several times a day.  better than being dead, but it does suck.
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Avatar_m_tn
There is definitely hope. In 2006, I went through a horrible divorce after catching my wife and best friend together. We were all in a successful band at the time. So, my entire life was falling apart. I ended up in a hotel drunk and loaded up on sleeping pills...I went into a coma while laying on the floor with my right leg bent underneath me. I was in this position for 10 hours. Apparently I was clinically dead when the maid found me....I was rushed to the hospital and survived. I woke up a week later to find that my right leg was swollen to 3 times its normal size. I couldn't feel anything. The Dr. told me that they had considered amputation, but that my mother would not allow it. I'm thankful for my mother! The Dr told me that my leg might recover once the horrible swelling and bruising went down...and that I might be able to feel my leg. 3 months later, the swelling was gone, but I couldn't feel my leg or foot. I had to use a walker to go the the bathroom. At some point, pins and needles began to appear....this sensation was followed by electrocution and burning in my leg and foot. It was horrible...still not movement. I finally went to a neurologist and had a nerve conductivity test. I was told that I had severe trauma to my sciatic and peroneal nerves and that I shouldn't expect much. I went home and began my own physical therapy. I used exercise bands to stretch my foot and slowly I got a little motion and feeling. I did pilates and yoga to build my leg back up and was slowly able to move my knee and lift my foot. I did this everyday for a few months and worked up to using the walker to pace the hallways at my house. Eventually, I made it outside with the walker...then I ditched the walker and walked with an AFO. I got bored. I was tired of being cooped up. I got a job as a dishwasher in a hippie restaurant that forced me to be on my feet all day....I survived the first few weeks with a few falls. Slowly my leg and foot got better. I went back out on the road with my band, loaded gear, and jumped around on stage. Slowly it got better. One day in 2008, I decided to ditch the AFO. I haven't used it since. Today.....I'm remarried. I have a beautiful newborn son. I have a great career. I'm running in a 5k in June. My foot isn't perfect, but its way better than I was told it would be. I'm sorry to ramble......but I want you to know that there is hope. I did hours and hours of research on nerve damage, foot drop, and recovery when I first found out that my leg was damaged. There is a lot of mixed information. One thing I know, my nerves continue to heal....in the last few months, I've regained the ability to wiggle my toes. Its been 7 years and I'm still improving. So don't let the Dr tell you that there's a time limit or that you shouldn't expect much. Do whatever you can to get moving.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi i`m Sharon and i`m 47.  I am so excited to have found some people going through similar experiences as myself.  I too have tried researching many things on foot drop and also have found mixed info on this.  I was so sorry to hear about everything you have been through sleepyhorse but you have given me, and others hopefully the strength to keep going.  I have had 2 bulging discs in my back for about 10 years now and had about 3 sciatica episodes all which went away in there own time, but in this particular time when i was bending over to put some paperwork into an envelope, the pain i experienced was different this time that i could hardly walk.  To cut a long story short i developed foot drop about 5 months after my back injury, had surgery to shave off the bulge on the discs but told it would only take the pain away from my leg but would do nothing for my foot drop.  Unfortunately 2 weeks after my op i fell downstairs and broke my foot, oh yes only the foot drop one, so ended up in plaster for 4 weeks.  Now i`m cast free and have seen physio who said there was nothing he could do for the drop foot but keep it moving, i have to keep up with my back exercises and am going swimming to try to strengthen my leg, i am going to get a brace fitted 2nd July but have been using plastic one from hospital which hurts my foot, i have also ordered the foot up to try.  I have read about people using a brace in bed which i haven`t been, should i?  Anyway i`ve rambled on enough, am just so happy to be able to vent all of this. Thanks to anyone willing to read this and good luck to everyone.  
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Avatar_f_tn
shasha,

I would recommend the night brace.  my wife has a disc issue and had foot drop.  she's able to walk without a brace but comes down flat footed.  she fell last night when she caught her toe....barefoot.  she should be wearing a night brace and was told to....things will get worse if she doesn't keep her foot flexed.   i can't tell her anything.

i am now able to lift my toes and partial on foot!  i do calf stretches with a luggage strap multiple times a day.  i wear the ossur foot up for my shoe.  i ditched the dr prescribed brace to force my to try to lift my foot when i'm walking.  i am planning on wearing the night brace the rest of my life as told.  there is a possiblility that i could have a "full" recovery, but i don't plan on it.  i'm just hoping to not have to wear the day brace
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi jeffbok,

Gonna have to look into getting a night brace i guess, have just received my foot up brace and am quite pleased with it although can only use it in shoes with laces, it makes me feel like i`m nearly walking normally although my ankle and foot is very weak so after a while i start to walk like i`ve got a limp. I also bought the foot up shoeless to wear around the house and although its not as comfortable as the other i haven`t fallen over my toes yet. Think my left leg and foot has forgotten how to walk properly, i`m trying my hardest to build it back up, any suggestions from you or anyone reading this on how i can do that would be appreciated, its a scary thought isn`t it that you probably will have this for the rest of your life or maybe.... and it`s a big maybe it might get better. Been off work since October and hoping to go back by the end of July, just worried about the driving as i`m not sure if your supposed to drive with a brace on, my husband had the idea of trying a pair of rigid boots like Dr Martins so i don`t have to wear a brace, will let you know how i get on with that one as he has a pair.
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Avatar_f_tn
i understand about the ankle.  i felt for the 1st 3 months that i was going to come down on my foot sideways.  no feeling and no strength.  my dr told me to do circles with my ankle...1 way and then the other.  also try to lift your foot which is a stupid statement when you don't realize how to do it anymore.  i've heard of using stiff shoes to drive with.  i don't think even now, i could get myself in any type of boot.  it's like shuffing a wet noodle into a needle.  good luck.
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Avatar_f_tn
Yes FD recovery is possible. Mine was caused on 27/12/12 by looking after sick baby in hospital who fell asleep on me next to metal hospital cot and rather than wake him up I decided to make a cot out of my body and wedged my foot between metal bars of hospital cot (he was alright thank god), was knackered as had not slept for c48 hours so I woke up with total foot drop from a compressive neuropraxial injury, essentially I crushed peroneal nerve and killed circulation in foot. 7 months later of falling over and a very poor gait and I am now healed (95%ish), with the exception of some severe muscle wastage which will take another few months to regain. It probably helps that I am 29 (so naturally heal faster than if older), but I highly recommend keeping as active as you possibly can. I made a point of walking as far as I could to retain as much muscle as possible (lots of falling over!). I even completely ignored docs advice and bought a strap pedal for my bike to cycle as much as possible, caution if try this as if you fall off is an almost certain broken leg/ankle. The long and short of my ramble is that...don't give up hope, there is good and bad stuff online, like all of you I massively researched my injury as i was unsure if I would regain anything. I was advised minimum 18mths if at all for recovery.
For inspiration google 'Beth deloria' who is a marathon runner with FD.
Wear memory foam insoles - I really found this helped, and just keep as active as is possible.
Finally, I have a toe off fully carbon fibre brace for LEFT foot to give away if anyone wants it, see my post at top of forum.
One love to you all for a recovery as fast as is pos.
-pete
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Avatar_f_tn
I had foot drop from a knee dislocation and the nerve was stretched and was not returning...I opted for the tendon transfer surgery and can now lift my foot I have not tried any sports but I was told to use the spring loaded afo and from others recommandations it's work I would only where it in athletic instances but i am extremely happy with the tendon transfer surgery I walk almost normal with no afo almost instantoy
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