Foot drop, which is also sometimes called a dropped foot, is a condition in which it is difficult to lift up the front part of your foot. As a result your forefoot and toes tend to catch or drag on the floor as you walk. It can be temporary or permanent and most commonly affects one side only.
Foot drop is an abnormal walk (gait) which is caused by a tendency of the front half of the foot to drop downwards as you walk along. Your foot can catch on the floor as you swing your leg forwards to take a step. The gait of foot drop may involve:
- As you walk along, the affected foot (or feet) catch on the floor.
- As you walk along you lift the leg high to avoid the foot catching (high stepping gait). People doing this often tend to walk on tiptoe on the other side to equalise the sides.
- As you walk you swing the affected leg out to the side to avoid it catching on the floor.
Foot drop usually affects just one foot. However, it can affect both sides, either equally or to different degrees. It may be temporary or permanent.
There are several grades of foot drop. These are measured from 0 to 5 depending on how much strength and movement there is in the muscles which lift the foot. Grade 0 is the weakest.