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unexplained foot drop after a virus on a cruise

My best friend, who is 64, went on a Mediterranean cruise last October for 17 days. On the 1st day of the cruise she got sick while eating a chicken dinner in Portugal,and developed an upper respiratory infection, coughing, sneezing, etc. and sought care from the ship MD. He gave her a Z-Pac to take on board and I believe some cough medicine.  She was sick the entire cruise as well for the next 2 weeks following her return.
She went on a lot of walking tours in Italy, Greece, Turkey, etc. which involved walking on uneven surfaces.  

After she returned - she was limping, but brushed it off as a result of all the walking.  In Jan. 2011 she had bunion surgery and was still limping and has now developed DROP FOOT. She mentioned limping to ortho doc.who  did bunion surgery.  He advised her to do exercises to strengthen her core muscles.  The PT therapist advised the problem was neurological and for her to see a neurologist.

She saw 3.  She had 2 EMG/nerve conduction studies done.  She has had a CT Scan of her pelvic bone area, 2 MRI with and w/o contrast of her lumbar region which only showed one protruding disc, and is not the cause of her issues.  She had another MRI with contrast of her leg between her knee and foot which only showed some degeneration of the Achille Tendon - and has been told this is not causing the issue.  She just last week has another MRI with contrast of the brain...she has a normal brain...so no issues there.

These neurologists at a very prestigious medical facility here in New Orleans have come up with a fat zero.  I am thinking this has something to do with the virus my friend had last year, and want her to pursue some physicians in another medical facility here (a teaching/research one) in tropical medicine or infectious disease.

Your thoughts?  MS has been ruled out. MD as well and Guillain Barre as well.    I am desperate to have my friend back.  She can't even walk across the grocery without giving out, and then having to drag her leg behind her.

I am so aggravated with these doctors who just test her and then that's it...if she doesn't fit in their little square peg, then they don't want to continue to work on her case, and cannot suggest anything further.  
Help please.
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when I read your post, I thought I was talking about myself as for the past 8 years no one seems to know the underlying cause of my signs and symptoms which are compatible to your friend's signs. I've seen Neurologists, Neuro Surgeons, Orthopedics, Orthopedic Surgeons, and Foot and Ankle Surgeon. And through the course of 8 years, I  had MRI's done [including my Brain - Cervical Spine - Thoracic Spine - Lumbar Spine, and Pelvis (some of which were with and without contrast)]; I even had MRV done. And, I got tested for Lyme Disease multiple times; and had Nerve Conduction Tests twice. All Doctors agree that they can't figure out the underlying cause of my signs and symptoms. I remeber when one of my Neurologists prescribed for a course Prednisone (20 m, I thought I got healed beacuse I regained my normal function again as I started to walk normally and wife couldn't keep with me. However, after the course of Prednisone was over, I was contained by my signs and symptoms again. Last night, I've come accross the possibility of a "Virus" or perhaps "Virus(es)" causing a foot to drop; and so I started to search online; and, I found an "Abstract" concerning "The Herpes Zoster Virus" stating that such Virus is "A RARE BUT POTENTIAL CAUSE OF ACUTE MOTOR WEAKNESS," and the abstract included two people who just so happened to have a "Right Foot Drop." Today, I sent message my Foot and Ankle Doctor message of containing the link of the abstract, to which he replied:


I wrote him back this question:

"Is there a collective blood test I can get to check for all potential viruses that I may have, which could be causing my condition?

I'm still waiting for him to reply.

Be that as it may, the following is the Abstract which I cut-and-pasted; and for the record, I've included the link of the Abstract at the end:


The herpes zoster virus is a rare but potential cause of acute motor weakness.

This article describes 2 patients with drop foot secondary to an infection of varicella zoster who were incorrectly referred to an orthopedic clinic from their general practitioners >>

>> The first patient was a 74-year-old man who presented with:

1) Weakness in the Right Foot, and
2) a Vesicular Rash.

The pattern of disease supported the clinical diagnosis of shingles affecting "The L5 motor," and "Sensory Division."

No investigation was required, and the patient was treated with a "Foot Drop Splint."

>> The second patient was a 71-year-old man who presented with:

1) Right Leg Foot Weakness, and
2) a Vesicular Rash affecting his "Right Buttock," and "Posterior Right Thigh."

Lumbar Magnetic Resonance EXCLUDED a "Stenotic Lesion;" and, "Electrophysiological Studies" SUPPORTED the diagnosis of a "Lower Motor Neuron Lesion."



The correct diagnosis will aid in correct referral and will prompt management, which will potentially provide a faster and better outcome for the patient.


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