Nerve injury. Most commonly, foot drop is caused by an injury to the peroneal nerve. The peroneal nerve is a branch of the sciatic nerve that wraps from the back of knee to the front of the shin. Because it sits very close to the surface, it may be easily damaged.
An injury to the peroneal nerve may also be associated with pain or numbness along the shin or the top of the foot.
Some common ways the peroneal nerve is damaged or compressed include:
hip or knee replacement surgery
spending long hours sitting in crossed-legged or squatting position
large amount of weight loss
Injury to the nerve roots in the spine may also cause foot drop.
Brain or spinal disorders. Neurological conditions can contribute to foot drop. These include:
multiple sclerosis (MS)
Muscle disorders. Conditions that cause the muscles to progressively weaken or deteriorate may cause foot drop. These include:
Treatment for foot drop will depend on the specific cause. Early treatment may improve your chances of recovery.
shoe inserts (orthotics)
Light-weight braces are the most common treatment. They're used to support the leg.
Physical therapy is used to help strengthen foot and leg muscles. It may improve a person's ability to walk. In some cases, electronic devices that stimulate the leg nerves during walking may be appropriate.
Surgery may be recommended to try to repair or decompress a damaged nerve. In cases where foot drop is permanent, surgery to fuse the foot and ankle joint or to transfer tendons from stronger muscles can improve gait and stability.