foot drop

looking for help please i woke up one morning about a week before Christmas 2015 with foot drop. Went to my GP who was looking through a book to see what was wrong with me (reassuring i know). He said come back 2 weeks later if its the same, so went back two weeks later and he referred a neurologist for an MRI at the end of April. So i have had to wait 4 months just to see a specialist then god knows how long for results. My mental state of mind is in tatters because my foot is semi disabled, my appetite is none existent( i am 5"11 and just over 8 stone of skin an bone at the minute) , cant sleep and when i do i have nightmares an wake up in a pool of sweat and i have no clue what is wrong with me so i went back to my GP and broke down to which he basically laughed in my face and said there's nothing more he could do. I been bed bound for weeks in constant pain all over my body now and my leg from knee to toe is completely numb. i am pushing my family away who are trying to help cos i am constantly aggressive towards them and i cant help it. Does anyone have a diagnosis for this .

29 Replies

  • I'm not sure about your other issues - loss of appetite, etc - but my dad has foot drop. It turns out it's because of spine degeneration causing a trapped nerve, which has left him unable to use his left foot - it simply dangles loose! I don't know if this is what you're experiencing? In my dad's case, he is very elderly and has other problems too so they wouldn't entertain the idea of operating, giving injections or anything like that. So he simply has a leg brace which holds his foot up and stops him tripping over it.

    Now, it may be that your problem is something entirely different but it could be to do with a trapped nerve due to spine problems, perhaps? It sounds like your doctor is horrible and I would have thought they could refer you to a neurologist more quickly. Can you try a different doctor and try to speed up the referral? It seems unacceptable to me to leave you like this.

    (although I've just read your post back and realise now the MRI is coming up soon - so I wish you luck with this and hope this gives you some answers)

  • thanks for your quick reply Caroline i hope to god it is just a trapped nerve like you say. As for going to another doctors i just  havent the confidence to see another doctor (im 26 years old and its the first time ive ever been docs since i was a kid) feel like a hypochondriac. i havent had a brace mentioned in any of my consultations with my gp so would i have to buy this privatly?

  • Hi - well, if it is what I think it might be then you probably won't need a brace once they sort it anyway. Because of my dad's age (he was in his 80s when it started - he's 93 now) they couldn't operate or give him any injections. But in the case of a young person like yourself I think they can usually do something like that. I'm not 100% sure as my pain problems are different to yours - so this is just speculation on my part. Perhaps someone else with back issues (if that's where it's stemming from) will have more knowledge than me about that. Take a look around this forum as I know I've seen people discussing it.

    By the way I meant to say, please try not to push away family and friends - though I know it's easier said than done when you're in pain and scared of what's happening. They're probably worried about it too, and may not know how to help or react around you while this is happening.

    Stay strong, and I hope all goes well for you when you  have the scan.

  • Oh, and no, my dad get his brace on the NHS (in the UK). :-)

  •  ive just ordered AFO Brace on line so hopefully that will help my limp and also lift my spirits i cant believe my GP didn't even mention a brace especially when i could of got one off the nhs! he could of saved me numerous falls by the looks of it 

    as for the back issues i dont have none tend to get shooting pains in right side of chest mainly and in both thighs but it seems theres very little info on the net about these symptoms grouped together so i will just have to wait for mri 

    thanks for the advice 

  • If the foot drop is one of your biggest problems right now, then see if you can get an earlier appointment to physio or OT (who can organise splints and things) as they may be able to help you get some relief and better function.

  • hi i dont know what OT is also how would i go about getting physio ?

  • OT is short for ocupational therapist. They teach you how to work with disabilities and get equipment that you need. Your docter has to refer you. However if you find a private physiotherapist you will have to pay but you don't need to be refered by your GP. That physiotherapist can send your docter details of what she finds and can work together with your docter. If your not happy with the docter you have ask to see someone else. I would.

  • Hi,

    First get rid of your Dr. He's incompetent.  I'm an Occupational Therapist so happy you got the AFO, was going to suggest that.  Foot drop can also be caused by a stroke.  Any other symptoms when this first started?  Dr should have urgently sent you for MRI of the brain and back.  Where the AFO with good supportive tennis shoes and can secure it with an ace wrap if necessary.  You don't need a PT or OT at this point, you first need a diagnosis.

  • Sorry, wear not where.

  • Hi whatswrong

    I have foot drop and my leg is numb from mid thigh down. Mine started from a prolapsed disc crushing the nerve coming from my spinal cord. I don't want to scare you but it hasn't recovered and I have to wear a foot/leg brace to stop me dragging my foot when I walk. It can get a little better with physiotherapy and specific exercises but mine won't.

     Yours may well be temporary as you don't have any major lower back pain; maybe it's just an irritated nerve. Again, physio exercises can remedy that. I'd phone up the mri unit and ask for any cancellations to see if you can get it done quicker. The same for the results appointment with the neurologist; phone up every day to see if he/she can fit you in earlier.

     At the very least, ask your GP to refer you to an orthotic clinic. They're the guys who deal with feet & ankle supports and braces. Ordering one 'off the shelf' from the internetcould do more harm than good as it won't be measured specifically for you. Also, ask for a physio referral; this has come out of nowhere so needs assessing quickly. Don't feel like you're 'bothering' your GP, it's their duty to treat you with the urgency any situation respects. This most certainly does and with your problems sleeping and night sweating, it's a big worry for you. A GP saying "there's nothing more I can do" is wrong!

    Like I've said, I don't mean to scare or panic you but this needs attention.

  • thanks for the replys everyone. I literally don't have the confidence to ring my doctors because ive been three times already and been told i just have to wait for my scan whilst my gp just stares at me, it makes me feel sorry for myself. The afo ive bought is in my shoe size so hoping it fits ok so i can get some work done( havent worked since christmas and my savings are dwindling fast ) very optimistic that the afo will help strengthen my foot so i can walk properly again after reading a few reviews online. it will be nice to go outside and not be concious of the way i walk. This is the first time ive felt abit of hope in months so thankyou everyone really appreciate it

  • Didn he really laugh at you ? That sound extraordinary . if so you should really be changing GP but I think a new one will probably say the same about having to wait for the consultant appointment. 

    The pains all over could be from a number ofcauses that should be investigated. Its possible that being bed bound is causing the pain as you are not moving about too much. Try not to worry until you speak to a new GP. And tell your family about your worries and how you feel. Get them on your side. They probably don't know what to do in this new situation.

    Best of luck and keep posting if you need to talk.


  • i never thought my pains could be from being bedbound ( hope it is ) my afo should arrive in the next few days so i hope it brings my mobility back to where i can walk normal again. My problem with talking to my family is that i wind myself up talking about it because my health plays on my mind 24/7, just not knowing what is wrong with me is grinding me down, if my pains are from being bedbound then this afo could really be a lifesaver for me. Hopefully it sorts my limp and eradicates my pains.

    thankyou for the positive reply really does calm the chaos in my head 

  • You should even wear the AFO in bed as foot drop can be permanent due to tendons shortening and causing permanent contractures.  Like the idea of calling neuro and scan dept. everyday for cancellations.  Letting this wait can result in permanent dysfunction.

  • my original appointment for MRI was 16th march but they cancelled on me a week before and rearranged to 28th April with no reason on the letter. Also it said they can make me wait 18weeks from referrel (17 weeks 3 days from referrel to 28th april ) as its not life threatening even though the gp had to look in book to see what my problem was.

    i just woke up one morning with a limp foot that no longer lifts up no warning or nothing

    I have been fit as a fiddle all my life, haven't touched alcohol in 6 years, never smoked, eat reasonably healthy and never even took a painkiller till all this started.

    this is the first time ive had any problems with my health in 26 years and with it just springing up on me like this its terrified the hell out of me.

    Im just confused because i was expecting a inclination of what is wrong with me when i first saw my gp 4 months ago and im still none the wiser today 

  • Get into a new GP ASAP and don't be afraid.  He may be able to get your MRI done faster.  If you don't take any other advise, DO get a new Dr. ASAP.  I can't believe they had to move your MRI more than a month later!  You're not receiving proper healthcare at the moment.

  • Will i have to change practice or will i be be able to get a new GP in the same one im in now.

    Im clueless about all this stuff 

  • If there's more than one doctor in your practice then you should be able to make an appointment with *any* doctor in your practice - you don't need to see the one named on your medical card. For example, here the one named on our medical card is the doctor that nobody wants to see (he's really horrible, and totally useless) so they register everyone with him as it makes him look like he has a lot of patients on his books. But I know quite a few people who wouldn't go to see him if they were paid to do so! We make appointments with one of the better doctors in the practice. So that shouldn't be a problem if you have more than one doctor there.

    Or you could completely change practice, of course - but you don't have to. Why not try another one in the practice as it sounds like this one that laughed at you is as bad as the one we're registered with here.

  • am glad you've got such good replies.  please do try to calm yourself: i know how hard that is because when my version of this set in i was anything but calm.  maybe it'll reassure you somewhat to know that foot drop can have many many causes and more often than not foot drop can be rehabilitated substantially.

    i know several people who have developed foot drop...turned out theirs were simple cases of soft tissue strain due to having made a wrong movement...given time & a bit of physio they totally got over the foot drop

    my version of this set in around 1993 when i turned 40.  the nhs first had to check the cause wasn't something in my spine, and then that it wasn't MS.  meanwhile i walked with a cane and kept as calm as poss...that all took time.  and it wasn't until many years later in 2010-11 when i was in my late 50s that rheumatology & orthopedics finally figured out that the cause is complex: we discovered i was diagnosed with infant onset lupus and the inflammatory process had brought on global tendon tightening which was especially severe in the leg with the foot drop.  i'm now on the right immunosuppression meds, which means the tendons can be stretched via the right sort of physio, and am continuing to do this rehab...i can walk without a cane and no one notices the foot drop.

    hope you'll let us know how you get on

    take care & good luck


  • thanks for the input I hope its not permanent like you say. Guess i just have to wait for results and pray as there are so many things it could be.

    I will let you guys know how i get on 

    thanks again

  • Remember; phone the mri unit everyday for cancellations and again after the scan for your neuro follow up!!!!

    Plead with them if you have to; if it brings you to tears then so be it!!! You've been treated appallingly thus far and as has already been said, change your GP or at the very least, don't see your GP anymore. Make further appointments with another doctor at that practice.


  • iam not a doctor so not going too comment on drop foot though I know all about it but what I do when I get appt for tests or consultants is phone consultant secretary and say you are available too go anytime leave your mobile nos in case cancelation

  • Hi there!

    Just ran across your post and had given some advice. Wondered how you are doing and if you finally got a diagnosis and treatment.

  • "OMG"

    This is horrendous for you, I have had a Stroke in 1998 at the age of 32.

    "Please Please" contact me to go through things if you would like.

    We can look at things if that would help you.


  • Steve49- just wanted to tell you this post was 5 months ago.

  • Opps very sorry.

  • No problem! I do it too!

  • Thanks!!!

    Brain Not working !!!!!

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