Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Footdrop: A Nerve-Centered Condition

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Footdrop: A Nerve-Centered Condition

Article excerpt

Dear Dr. Donohue: I'm hoping you can help my father, who suffers from footdrop. My father's doctor doesn't seem to be helping him.

Footdrop is inability to raise a foot fully to negotiate a proper step. The person must raise the dropped foot awkwardly to avoid dragging it.

Footdrop is nerve-centered. The nerve serving the foot muscle is malfunctioning, often the consequence of damage arising from another illness, such as diabetes. Arthritis, too, can contribute. For some, it is an inherited defect. There are examples of footdrop traced to an otherwise harmless quirk in seated posture, such as the habit of sitting with a leg crossed. Over time, that habit can produce chronic compression of the leg nerve involved. Eliminating the habit might permit restoration of proper nerve and foot muscle function. There are several nerve-muscle situations that can be similarly explained and treated. Despite the list of potential problems, at times no correctable or controllable cause of footdrop can be ascertained. For those people, a special ankle brace serves to keep the foot properly elevated to clear a step. The brace can be a godsend. Perhaps your father would benefit from it. Most footdrop cases can be treated one way or another, perhaps not to the degree we would like, but sufficiently to make life easier. Have your father see a physiatrist, a specialist in rehabilitation med icine, who can assess his footdrop to determine whether ankle bracing would help. Dear Dr. Donohue: I'm a high school senior. I have a dilemma. I am 6 feet and weigh 130. I am too skinny. I am not anorexic. In fact, I try eating as much as I can. I have managed to gain 2 pounds in the last six months. What can I do to gain more? You're doing something right. It's a slow process. Continue doing what you are doing. …

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