Hello, I've just found this forum and would like some advice please. I had a tumour removed from my pelvis at the end of September 2011, and unfortunately it had grown around my sciatic nerve. In order to remove all the tumour (fortunately a low grade cancer) the surgeon had to cut a chunk out of my sciatic nerve (about 6 cms) which left me with drop foot (right foot). My foot is completely floppy and I cannot move it at all. I wear a AFO and get around on crutches/sticks, although I can walk without these indoors, but with a very heavy limp as I can't put weight on my bad side. There also seems to be some nerve damage to my right buttock and the back of my thigh as I find it very difficult sometimes to get in a comfortable sitting or lying position. I had a lot of nerve painin my foot to start with and took gabapentin, but this has gradually subsided and I am almost off the medication now. The lack of muscle tone in my thigh causes problems as I don't have much strength in the back of the leg to support me, although the front of my leg is fine and luckily my knee is OK which enables me to do quite a lot. Since about two months after the operation my ankle has felt very tight and stiff at night when I take my AFO off. (I don't wear one at night as it was so bulky it stopped me from getting comfortable enough to sleep), but I wear my other orthosis all day which is a Centri Dynamic Walk. It has a wire up one side and clips around my calf and is quite comfortable. It's supposed to excercise the leg and help with a proper walking movement, more so than my first rigid carbon fibre one. I have been swimming recently and again, when I take my AFO off my ankle feels as though there is a lump of concrete tied to it. Does anyone else have this problem and is there anything I can do to ease it. I try rotating my ankle around with my hand and put a towel under my foot and lift it up and down. I was wondering whether to buy a massage stick that athletes use. I am also seeing a neurosurgeon in London as I was hoping to have my sciatic nerve grafted, but he is reluctant to do such a big operation for a small chance of success. He is considering nerve re-routing to help with the damage in my thigh. Any advice on the stiff ankle problem will be gratefully received. Sue
I would reccomend you have your AFO checked as it might not suit well anymore, this can explain the stiffness in your ankle. You already do what you can, good job! What might help also is alternating hot/cold baths and exercise your foot in warm water with a little bit of sea salt added to it. Can be done passive or active depending on what you're able to do with your ankle, i don't know how weak the muscles in your ankle are, so it depends. Also an Infra red lamp might give release, it helps blood flow get back to normal.
Do you visit a PT? Electro stimulation might help you big time, also for the foot drop.
Take care, I know what you're going through, I have severe weakness from foot drop too!
You have been through a lot emotionally with a tumor & now foot drop. I have not had the stiff ankle you describe but I am able to walk in my house without my AFO. You could be developing a contracture. I think Sue has some great suggestions. Continue rotating your foot and ankle using your hand several times a day. I put a rolled towel near a wall so I can stretch my Achilles but have the support of the wall for my hand. I also use an electrical stimulator although don't think it has helped me.. You can buy one on eBay.
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