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Signs of Healing Foot Drop

Signs of Healing Foot Drop

Some cases of foot drop are permanent, but many can heal with time and appropriate care. Wondering whether your foot drop is getting better? In this guide, we help you identify the signs of healing from foot drop. These signs let you know that what you are doing is helping, and your recovery is on track.

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Primary Causes of Foot Drop

 First of all, what is foot drop? According to Mayo Clinic, foot drop is a condition where you are unable to lift the front part of your foot. As a result, you may have an unnatural, dragging gait as you walk.

Foot drop has a variety of causes. Some possible causes include stroke, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury (TBI), peroneal nerve damage, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), muscular dystrophy, and even things like sitting, kneeling or squatting in particular positions for too long. 

Penn Medicine states that injury to the peroneal nerve is the most common cause for foot drop. This nerve can be damaged through a knee injury, time spent in a coma, wearing a cast on the lower leg that is too tight, or even just wearing high boots a lot. 

A type of peripheral neuropathy called Charcot-Marie Tooth (CMT) also can lead to foot drop. If you have neuropathy affecting your feet, you may find these natural treatments helpful, as well as what you should know about walking with neuropathy

Foot Drop Symptoms

Either or both feet may be affected by foot drop. If you experience foot drop, raising your feet is difficult when walking or climbing, and when you set your feet down, they can slap the ground. You might develop a tendency to take high, unnatural steps to try and keep your toes from dragging. 

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You may also notice weakened muscles, and maybe even a reduction in muscle mass. Your foot or leg might exhibit nerve symptoms such as tingling or numbness. It could also become harder to maintain your balance.

Signs of Recovery After Foot Drop

There are many situations where foot drop can improve, or even go away entirely. Studies show that 88% of foot drop cases go away. If that is the case for you, you may start to detect signs of healing foot drop. Let’s go over those now.

Improved Balance

When you cannot lift the fronts of your feet and you must adopt an unnatural gait to walk with foot drop, that can affect your balance. 

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The natural way to walk is with the heel striking the ground before the toes do. But foot drop causes the toes to touch down before the heel does. This is what leads to people with foot drop tripping.

So, if you notice your balance beginning to improve, that might point toward improvements in your ability to lift your feet and walk normally.

Better Coordination in Feet and Ankles

Along with your balance, foot drop can have an adverse effect on your coordination. When you are unable to raise and lower your feet naturally, it is hard to achieve a normal walking cadence. You might also have difficulty clearing obstacles or moving your feet across the distance and height that you had intended. 

If your coordination is beginning to improve, that is a good sign that your foot drop may also be reducing.

More Daily Independence

Sometimes, it is difficult to get a gauge on the changes in your physical health, especially over a long, slow healing process. Even if you take careful notes, your observations may be somewhat subjective. You might struggle to assess based on balance, coordination and physical symptoms alone whether your foot drop is decreasing from day to day or remaining the same.

In situations like that, what sometimes works better is to instead take a look at how you are living your overall life for signs of improvement.

For example, let’s say foot drop was so bad it was preventing you from exercising, and you were dreading going on errands.

But over the past few weeks, you have been running your errands without worrying, and even exercising. These are both indications your condition may be improving.

Of course, it could just be in some cases that you are adapting to living with the condition. Whether or not that is the case probably depends both on the adaptations you make and your psychology.

But if you notice a reduction in the stress and effort involved in living independently and doing activities that involve walking and climbing, there is a good chance it points toward real recovery. Adapting makes you resilient, but it doesn’t make living with a condition like foot drop easy. 

How Long Does it Take to Heal from Foot Drop?

The healing time from foot drop varies based on the underlying cause, your lifestyle and habits, treatments, and other factors.

As one example, patients who received surgery for degenerative lumbar diseases saw foot drop improvements within 6 weeks.

But recovery took about 3 months in cases of foot drop involving peripheral compressive neuropathy.

Ask your doctor how long they expect foot drop recovery to take given your condition and the steps you are taking to treat it. 

Also, please keep in mind that while many patients do recover from foot drop, in some, it is a chronic or permanent condition. 


How Can Your Choice of Shoes Improve Your Recovery Time?

It might surprise you to learn that one thing that can potentially speed up your recovery time from foot drop is your choice of shoes.

Typical shoes are designed with the assumption that you are able to lift your toes and walk with a natural gait. As a result, they do nothing to help you move correctly when  you are unable to lift the fronts of your feet.

Light blue adaptive shoes

To address this gap in footwear, Cadense has developed a collection of shoes for foot drop, including the Cadense Original Adaptive Shoe for men and women.

The Cadense Original Adaptive Shoe features an innovation called patented variable friction technology. With this technology, it is possible to “glide” over uneven surfaces and obstacles, even when it is not possible for you to lift your toes correctly because of foot drop. 

These adaptive shoes also fit snugly and comfortably, providing support and comfort as you walk, increasing stability. In addition, they are stylish and easy to put on and take off. You can choose from a number of different colors, including white, black, gray, blue and pink. 

When you walk in the Cadense Original Adaptive Shoes, you should find it easier to maintain your balance and coordination. As a result, you will stay safer, as the chances of slips, trips and falls reduces. You will also not be tempted to develop an unnatural gait with a high step. 

Just being able to walk more comfortably and safely with foot drop will encourage you to get more exercise. This, in turn, will help you to enhance flexibility, strength and circulation in your legs, feet and ankles, and promote overall health. Over the weeks or months ahead, this may bolster your healing process. 



You have a better understanding now of what foot drop is, how it can affect you, and what to expect from your recovery. To conclude our post, let’s answer some frequently asked questions about healing from foot drop. 

How long does it take for a nerve to heal from foot drop?

Mayo Clinic states that peripheral nerve injuries may take months or years to heal. So, try to be patient. It may feel like nothing is happening, but you could be improving. 

Keep in mind that if there is an underlying condition contributing to your foot drop, you will get the best results if you are treating that condition appropriately. In some cases, lifestyle changes may also be appropriate. 

What is the recovery rate for foot drop?

We were unable to find an overall recovery rate for all patients with foot drop. Whether you heal from foot drop and how long it takes depends on the cause of your foot drop. That said, recovery rates for those who underwent surgery and saw improvement after the first month were about 70%. Keep in mind that many cases of foot drop can heal without surgical intervention. 

Is permanent foot drop a disability?

Yes, permanent foot drop is a disability. It makes it hard for you to walk properly, and may lead to the development of complications from an unnatural gait or injuries from falls.

If you are wondering if foot drop can entitle you to disability benefits, you will need to apply. Proving your case may be a challenge, however (as is often the case when applying for disability). 

Can you walk normally with foot drop?

Specialized shoes and devices can help you to adopt a more natural gait when you are walking with foot drop. It may also take you some practice to unlearn bad habits. You may not be able to walk completely normally with foot drop, but you can get closer to normal with time and the right support.

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