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Foot Drop is a gait abnormality that limits the ability to walk, climb stairs or engage in physical activity. Foot drop is characterized by the unintended and unavoidable dropping of the forefoot. This condition occurs due to an uncontrollable weakness, irritation or damage to the common fibular nerve. This nerve problem can also painfully afflict the sciatic nerve, or it can paralyze the muscles in the lower leg.
Foot drop is usually a symptom of a greater problem. It can be identified by the inability or by the impaired ability in either one foot or both feet, to raise the toes or raise the foot from the ankle. Drop foot may be a temporary or acute condition or it may be a chronic condition. This depends on the extent of muscle weakness or paralysis.
Foot drop can be caused by nerve damage alone, or by nerve damage associated with muscle or spinal cord trauma. Other causal factors can include abnormal anatomy, toxins or disease. Medical conditions that can cause drop foot include ischemic stroke, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, muscular dystrophy or multiple sclerosis. Foot drop may also occur as a result of hip replacement surgery or knee ligament reconstruction surgery.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is considered an autoimmune disease and the cause of getting this is currently not known. It is reported that a combination of factors may leave some more susceptible to MS then others and these may include genetics and environmental factors.
What MS does, however, is more clear. MS breaks down the blood-brain barrier in ways that lead to long-term neurological problems with motor control. You can learn more about MS at national sites such as U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Neurological Disorders, and the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association just to name a few.
Learn about the 4 common diagnostic tools used to diagnose multiple sclerosis (MS).
Neuropathy refers to nerve damage or nerve disease in one or more of the peripheral nerves. Physicians trained in Neurology (neurologists) are generally where patients are referred to by their primary care physician or other healthcare professional for this. Neurologists conduct a comprehensive neurological examination, take a medical history, and also may utilize tests such as nerve conduction studies and electromyography. These tests may determine the type and location of the nerve or muscle damage such as generalized neuropathies, focal neuropathies, entrapment neuropathies, or compressive lesions/syndromes such as carpal tunnel syndrome, ulnar neuropathies, or nerve root lesions. Other tests ordered may include lab work, imaging, nerve biopsy or skin biopsy.
Peripheral neuropathy (PN) refers to an affliction of the nerves outside the central nervous system. These nerves carry signals to skin, joints, muscles and internal organs.
The symptoms are initially subtle, such as tingling and numbness of the extremities (e.g. toes or skin), decreased sensation in that area, burning, stinging or shooting pain. This last manifestation can become excruciating, and this kind of peripheral nerve pain may or may not respond to conventional medical treatment.
There are a number of medical causes of peripheral neuropathy. These include diabetes, metabolic autoimmune issues, hereditary conditions, infections, toxins, drugs and tumors.
Diabetes, which can reduce blood flow to the periphery of the body, is one of the most common causes of PN, and PN can begin before diabetes is even diagnosed. Diabetes affects multiple organs because it affects the blood vessels and the peripheral nerves.
Restless Leg Syndrome
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A “stroke” is known as a cerebrovascular accident (CVA), a cerebrovascular insult (CVI), or a brain attack. This may occur when there is restricted blood flow to the brain. This is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S.
There are two main types:
- Ischemic stroke – is due to lack of blood flow to a portion of the brain.
- Hemorrhagic stroke – is caused by hemorrhagic bleeding within the brain, brain injury or an aneurysm.
Signs and symptoms of an ischemic stroke may include an inability to move or feel on one side of the body, problems speaking or understanding speech, loss of vision to one side among, etc. Signs and symptoms often appear soon after the event has occurred. If symptoms last less than one or two hours, this is known as a transient ischemic attack (TIA).
Hemorrhagic strokes are frequently associated with an obvious triggering trauma. They are frequently associated with severe headaches.
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