My daughter racewalks competitively. She is fourteen years old. During the last three summer competitions she experiencec occasional foot drop. There is no pain and no numbness, but she cannot control her foot. She has not racewalked since the summer and has not had any more problems. The doctors cannot find anything after two MRI tests on her brain and spine. They also did a nerve reaction test with no results. We don't know how to proceed from there. She would like to continue racewalking, but as a parent I am concerned with the consequences of having any more bouts of foot drop. Does anyone have any resources or help for us.
Ask your daughter if it's truly footdrop in which she is unable to bend at the ankle with her toes pointed toward the face or if its just not under her control when she's running and kind of bends or twists funny. Her symtpoms sound like she's experiencing a movement disorder called dystonia which is the sustained contraction of muscles with oppositie functions. So extension and flexion muscles contract at the same time, producing a repetitive, twisting motion that is out of the patient's control. It can start out with very certain or specific activities like walking, writing, or playing the piano and can be limited to only one part of the body. Your daughter may have a childhood onset dystonia which by itself can be a benign condition. But if there's something causing it, she will need to be looked at more closely by a pediatric neurologist. There are also some dystonias that respond to dopamine.
Take your daughter to see a pediatric neurologist for a thorough exam and perhaps a more extensive lab workup to rule out metabolic abnormalities. FOr more info, you can write to www.dystonia-foundation.org. Best of luck
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