On June 19, 2017, a case study was published in the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research documenting the correction of foot drop in a patient receiving chiropractic care. According to the Mayo clinic website, “Foot drop, sometimes called drop foot, is a general term for difficulty lifting the front part of the foot. If you have foot drop, you may drag the front of your foot on the ground when you walk. Foot drop isn’t a disease. Rather, foot drop is a sign of an underlying neurological, muscular or anatomical problem.”
The most common mechanism for foot drop is damage or entrapment of the peroneal nerve. This nerve is a branch that comes off the larger sciatic nerve and innervates the muscles in the front of the lower leg and foot. Damage to this nerve anywhere along the path from the origin at the lumbar spine down to the foot can result in symptoms of foot drop or a loss of sensation in the webbing of the toes.
Medical treatment for foot drop includes lightweight braces to support the foot, shoe inserts (orthotics), physical therapy, or even surgery. Braces or shoe inserts are designed to support the problem but can not help correct the cause. Physical therapy may help strengthen the muscles involved on a temporary basis. If a specific entrapment to the peroneal nerve is identified, surgery may be helpful.
In this case, a 24-year-old male weight lifter went to a college chiropractic clinic after he developed foot drop of unknown origin. He stated that he went to get out of the bed in the morning and had no strength in his lower right leg. He also described a mild tingling feeling on the front portion of his leg below his knee. When he lifted his right leg off the ground, his foot would point as he had no ability to raise the foot up to a normal position.
Upon testing the muscles of the leg, it was observed that the man had no strength in the muscles of the front of his lower leg. This would cause his foot to just fall. The muscles of the front of the leg are controlled by the peroneal nerve.
The patient received chiropractic adjustments to address subluxations of the spine and a misalignment observed in the right knee. The patient reported that after each chiropractic visit there was some improvement in this condition. Initially, the man noticed an increase in sensation to the areas that had a loss of sensation. By the fifth visit, he was able to start to bring his foot up again toward a more normal position. By the twelfth visit, there was complete resolution of his foot drop.
In their conclusion, the study authors summed up the results by saying, “In this particular case of insidious onset of foot drop, chiropractic care was shown to help in the complete resolution of signs and symptoms.”
If you or anyone you know could benefit from a better functioning nervous system, please call us at 512-452-2525 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Swanson. Austin chiropractor located in north central Austin, TX.