How to Improve Foot Drop After Having a Stroke


Foot drop, medically called dorsiflexion, is a health condition characterized by difficulty lifting the foot’s upper part. The condition makes you feel uncomfortable walking and also inhibits safe walking.

Experts diagnose a foot drop by conducting a physical examination to observe leg muscle weakness or numbness. Stroke tops the list of primary causes of foot drop, with nearly 20% of stroke survivors getting foot drops.

However, foot drop is curable, and there are several measures that you could apply to improve a foot drop. Below are the primary methods you can apply exclusively or together to improve and avoid worsening your condition.


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Use Braces

The foot needs adequate support for foot drop to improve. As a result, health practitioners recommend using braces or splints for foot drag improvement.

When using splints, you must wear one that fits into your footwear. In addition, wearing both an ankle brace and foot brace keeps the foot in the recommended position; hence, you will be able to walk better.

An AFO brace is recommendable because it restricts ankle dorsiflexion and plantarflexion movement. This restriction ensures that the hemiparetic foot stays fixed to facilitate swing.


However, you must wear the right brace based on your condition for effective results. It would be best if you also had adequate timing to use braces because an overreliance on a brace could weaken some of your neural pathways.

Such occurrences inhibit the brain from controlling your foot movement.

For this reason, you must get the opinion of a professional therapist from reliable health companies, like Flint Rehab, regarding the appropriate brace and when to walk without the brace to prevent over-dependence.


Improve Foot Drop After Having a Stroke


Physical Therapy

Exercises are fundamental in improving foot drop, even when using a splint or a brace.

You should therefore engage in exercises and physical activities that make your leg muscles stronger, ensuring you can sustain the normal range of movement in your ankle and knee.

Such exercises improve gait problems linked with foot drops. Again, stretching exercises are crucial in preventing the heel from experiencing stiffness.


Undertaking these active exercises optimizes neuroplasticity, allowing you to regain the normal use of your foot and ankle.

As the condition improves, you can gradually outgrow the necessity to use an AFO, and the ultimate result is walking normally.

You need minimal guidance to perform effective exercises for improving foot drop.



Foot braces and ankle splints are not a permanent method of improving a foot drop and should only be used temporarily in the initial stages of recovery.

Some cases of food drop may require more complex and permanent methods like undergoing surgery. Health practitioners could opt for surgery to treat a foot drop depending on the cause and duration, and severity of your foot drop.

For instance, doctors may recommend surgery to fuse your ankle or foot bones if you have a long-standing foot drop.

It would help if you had professional advice to settle for surgery to improve your foot drop, considering the complexity of the procedure and its permanent nature.


Nerve Stimulation to Improve Foot Drop After Having a Stroke


Nerve Stimulation

Lastly, nerve stimulation is also reliable for improving your foot drop. For foot drop to improve using this approach, you have to stimulate the nerve that lifts the foot and prevent it from becoming dormant.

Walking without assisting tools, like an AFO or a splint, can enhance nerve stimulation at home.


Again, you can seek professional aid from therapists to stimulate your nerves. These professionals can assist you with nerve stimulation using more complex approaches like electrical stimulation.

Such procedures enhance practical communication between your muscles and nerves, taking you a step closer to recovery.


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Final Remark

Foot drop deters you from having normal movement, necessitating you to seek medical attention.

Fortunately, the condition is curable provided that health practitioners can treat its source, and most cases are curable.

Stroke survivors are at risk of getting foot drops, but if you appropriately implement the above strategies, you stand a chance to improve your foot drops, and ultimately get cured.

It is recommendable to visit a reputable health facility for personalized professional advice on the best gadgets and the most appropriate course of action for improving your foot drop after a stroke


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