Dear Fellow Foot Drop Sufferers:
There are many different causes of Foot Drop/ Drop Foot; in my case I had a major Scoliosis spinal deformity surgery and the surgeon made a mistake, placing a pedicle screw through my L5 nerve and actually into my spinal canal. This L5 nerve is crucial to the foot being able to lift up and "Dorsiflex" and also to the left big toe lifting up. And Dorsiflexion is crucial for walking. When I woke up, they poked at my feet like they always do after a spinal surgery and for the first time I had to say, "No, I don't feel anything." Since this surgeon then abandoned me, I diagnosed myself off the web and found another surgeon. I had corrective surgery five months ago. So far, no improvement. My foot is paralyzed, and almost up to my knee I feel nothing. My left foot has the typical "Drop Foot" wraparound nerve damage with either no or reduced sensation. If you look this up, you will see a drawing showing how Foot Drop nerve damage "wraps" around your leg.
Anyway, there are many old threads on here about Foot Drop and most people are asking the same thing as me: "Will I ever get better?" Many doctors don't understand how major this is, and some even think we are OK if we just wear our AFO's (ankle foot orthosis). They don't seem to understand how painful and dreadful the sensations are on our legs are, even though they are paralyzed. I myself live with a constant 24/7 weighty, crawling, tight, or burning hot poker sensation. It has and continues to be, absolutely hellacious. We Foot Drop patients also have bad problems with cramps in the calves, and I've come down with terrible, painful plantar facisitis in both feet...also my right, non-paralyzed foot, in compensating for the other foot, is painful all the time. I'm almost in a wheelchair.
Remember that there are different causes of Foot Drop. Someone that falls and comes down with Foot Drop, for instance, has damaged their "Peroneal" nerve in their leg, and has a better chance of recovering faster than someone with nerve damage in their spine, (like me). Likewise stroke patients are different. In my case, I have to wait for the nerve to heal all the way from my spine, where the damage occurred, down to my foot. This can take two years from what I understand; I've never heard from someone that has healed from a spinal injury, but I would like to.
EMG tests are important because they state the progress of the nerve. I'm fortunate that my spinal L5 nerve was not actually severed; however, it was severely damaged. I have an Electrical Stem Unit (E Stem unitz) but I cannot get my foot to Dorsiflex with it (most stroke patients can, for instance).
I am now six months out of the surgery that removed the wrong screw and I recently had an EMG test done. There has been regrowth in my nerves, but at the growth rate of one inch per month, it could take two more years for the new nerves to reach my foot and that is assuming that the nerve regrowth will even continue which it may or may not.
There is a Foot Drop surgery which involves tendon and nerve transfer. Most doctors don't seem to mention it to their patients, not sure why. If I don't find out some information soon on whether it's possible to heal from Foot Drop after 2-3 years of being paralyzed, I'm heading to Washington University in St. Louis, the only medical school in the country that has an actual Foot Drop Department (someone actually cares about us!) to see about getting Foot Drop surgery.
We NEED people who have recovered from Foot Drop or had Foot Drop surgery to write in here! Please contribute to this thread by sharing your experiences, even if, like me, you haven't recovered. Also please message me here if you'd like. I'm in terrible pain in my foot and would like to hear from others.