Foot drop syndrome is a treatable condition that the team of Licensed Physical Therapists at Back In Motion, Sarasota Physical Therapy treats on a regular basis with a high success rate. Foot drop syndrome is a neuromuscular disorder often times caused by a stroke. Foot drop syndrome is characterized by weak muscles in the front of the lower leg including but not limited to the anterior tibialis. Foot drop syndrome can create a  loss of control over the foot. This affects a clients walking as well as the clients ability to lift the foot at the ankle.

Injury and or damage to nerve fibers that allow the bending in the ankle upward/movement of the toes can cause multiple problems. One problem such as  the toes pointing towards the floor when the foot is lifted up from the ground can cause the client to excessively flex the hip o.r the knee up while walking so the foot will clear the ground. Foot drop syndrome can also contribute to the tendency to drag the foot along the ground upon attempts to walk.

Foot drop syndrome should not be ignored as it can often be a sign of a more serious underlying problem. The Physical Therapy experts at Back In Motion, Sarasota Physical Therapy can differentiate between the foot drop syndrome being caused by a nerve injury, spinal disorder, brain disorder or muscle disorder. Foot drop can affect one foot (unilateral) or be bilateral (meaning it affects both feet). Foot Drop Syndrome can be temporary or permanent, depending on the cause. This is one of the reasons to seek the skills of a knowledgeable Physical Therapist when treating this condition. The more knowledge by the Physical Therapist regarding foot drop syndrome could result in a shorter period of having foot drop.

The team at Back In Motion, Sarasota Physical Therapy plays a important role in the management of foot drop. We allow patients to experience better mobility, which leads to an improved quality of life. You can expect results with the skill set of our staff, whereas other treatments at other facilities have failed in the past. We have specialty training in a state of the art revolutionary treatment for foot drop syndrome. We are Certified to perform assessment and treatment of the WalkAide System. The next step forward in foot drop independence.  Some typical treatment that you may receive at Back In Motion, Sarasota Physical Therapy may include the following:


The WalkAide is an advanced medical device that may provide immediate and dramatic improvement in waking caused by multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury (TBI), incomplete spinal cord injury, or stroke/CVA (Cerebral Vascular Accident). Interruption of the natural nerve to muscle communication between the leg and the brain inhibits one’s ability to lift the foot naturally. WalkAide can restore this lost nerve to muscle communication by sending electrical signals to your peroneal nerve, which controls the movement on your ankle and foot. These gentle electrical impulses activate the muscles to raise your foot at the appropriate time during each step. Use of the WalkAide for foot drop syndrome results in a smoother, more natural and safer walking motion. In addition to the walkaide, our team of licensed physical therapists can provide:  electrical stimulation of the nerves and muscle fibers. This helps generate electrical impulses within the muscles and can help increase the strength and stability of the foot and ankle. For more information on the WalkAide system to treat foot drop syndrome check out:Visit Walk Aide

Exercise Therapy

Treatment for patients with foot drop can include special gentle yet progressive exercise therapy. Strengthening exercises of the muscles in the foot/ankle and the lower limbs help maintain muscle and promotes stability of the foot and ankle. Such exercises will help strengthen and stretch the foot while returning stability and mobility to the ankle. The team at Back In Motion, Sarasota Physical Therapy will determine which gentle yet progressive exercises are most appropriate for you on an individualized basis. We believe that each client is unique. We do not believe in grabbing a paper labeled “foot & ankle exercises” out of a cubby box and giving them for you to perform. We always provide a customized handout from our state of the art computer program which has easy to read printed words and computer generated pictures. Back In Motion, Sarasota Physical Therapy will provide clear instructions so that the client can also perform some of the exercises in a safe manner in the home setting.

Stretching exercises can be an excellent treatment for foot drop for some clients. The Physical Therapists at Back In Motion, Sarasota Physical Therapy may advise clients to sit on the floor, place a towel around the foot, hold onto both ends and gently pull the towel towards them. This helps stretch the muscles of the calf and foot.

We will help you walk with: Gait Training

A gait abnormality is a deviation from normal walking and is very common with foot drop syndrome. We truly are the local experts in assisting with safe walking and minimizing fall risk with mobility from walking room to room within the home as well as safe and functional walking out in the community on even and uneven surfaces.

Gait training is recommended for those patients with moderate to severe foot and ankle weakness and instability. This treatment helps a patient walk more efficiently and improve stability by incorporating different strength as well as proprioception and balance exercises.

At times, gait training requires the use of walkers, canes and parallel bars to safeguard the patient.

Braces and Splints

Back In Motion, Sarasota Physical Therapy have foot and ankle braces in stock for appropriate use as needed for clients. For individuals with limited control over their foot muscles, an “Ankle-Foot-Orthosis (AFO)” is used to help improve gait. AFO are L-shaped braces designed to support the function of the ankle and foot by keeping them perpendicular (at an angle of 90 degrees). This helps to keep the foot from dropping and from contributing to a steppage gait  while walking which is characterized by excessive hip and knee flexion and a slap of the foot on the ground upon stance phase of the gait cycle.

The Road to Recovery

Foot drop syndrome can be a horrible experience for patients and can affect movement. While there are several causes of foot drop, physical therapy is the most effective treatment option, in most cases.

Back In Motion Sarasota Physical Therapy as your trusted healthcare professionals with several years of experience treating muscular and neurological conditions, pledge to take good care of you.

Do Not Delay. The longer you wait, the more serious your problem may become. Reach out to us today and give us the opportunity to show you how physical therapy can change your life.  Call us at (941)-925-2700.

About the Author Tim Burnell, PT

Tim Burnell is the Lead Physical Therapist at Back In Motion Sarasota. He has over two decades of clinical experience. He takes pride in getting to the root of the problem which helps get his clients better...Faster! He is a family man & enjoys spending time with the love of his life, Monique. He has 2 children & a dog named Annie. Tim's son, Andre' is 11 years old and his daughter Joliebelle (nicknamed Pooky) is 7 years old. He enjoys visiting his wife's side of the family in New Orleans and his side of the family in Vermont. Tim grew up in Vermont, went to Physical Therapy School in Alabama, got his first job at Tulane Hospital in New Orleans and moved to Sarasota Florida after Hurricane Katrina in 2006.

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