Foot drop is a symptom of another condition, generally related to some form of nerve injury. It becomes apparent when a patient is unable to lift the foot enough to clear the floor or ground while walking. The foot then drags along behind, causing a type of shuffling gait. Someone with foot drop may raise the knee higher with each step, which looks like marching. Further, the foot often slaps the ground when it is lowered, as the patient is unable to control the movement. Among the many conditions that result in foot drop are a peroneal nerve injury, an ankle injury, muscular dystrophy, a stroke, or diabetes. Even something as simple as crossing the legs while sitting can constrict the peroneal nerve and cause numbness and foot drop. A podiatrist can conduct a complete examination to determine the cause of foot drop and explore the range of treatment options available to you.
Biomechanics in Podiatry
Podiatric biomechanics is a particular sector of specialty podiatry with licensed practitioners who are trained to diagnose and treat conditions affecting the foot, ankle and lower leg. Biomechanics deals with the forces that act against the body, causing an interference with the biological structures. It focuses on the movement of the ankle, the foot and the forces that interact with them.
A History of Biomechanics
- Biomechanics dates back to the BC era in Egypt where evidence of professional foot care has been recorded.
- In 1974, biomechanics gained a higher profile from the studies of Merton Root, who claimed that by changing or controlling the forces between the ankle and the foot, corrections or conditions could be implemented to gain strength and coordination in the area.
Modern technological improvements are based on past theories and therapeutic processes that provide a better understanding of podiatric concepts for biomechanics. Computers can provide accurate information about the forces and patterns of the feet and lower legs.
Understanding biomechanics of the feet can help improve and eliminate pain, stopping further stress to the foot.