Foot drop can happen with a range of conditions, most typically when there is irrtation or damage to the common fibula nerve including the sciatic nerve.
In itself it is a symptom so it's important you see a physio to get to the cause of it. While addressing the underlying cause it is important to address the footdrop itself. Below are a few simple exercises that might help.
Foot drop can be a difficult condition to live with because it makes it hard to walk. It is also an issue that can lead to trips as the toes can get caught on small cracks or edges on the walking surface. The last thing you need is a fall!
One of the consequences of a foot drop is tightening of the muscle groups at the back of the calf.
The first two exercises focus on stretching the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles. Below Matt (head physio at Clemton Park) demonstrates these).
Once you have started work on flexibility of what is tight you then need to strengthen the muscles that raise the foot back up.
The first exercise to try is a simple foot lift. Below, our Senior physio at Activ Therapy Casula Lawrence shows how to do this exercise.
Ankle dorsiflexion exercise
The next exercise is resisted peroneal strengthening. Lawrence again shows how to perform this exercise.
The last in this series is the tibialise posterior exercise. Along with the peroneals they function to lift up the foot. Lawrence shows how to perform this in the video below.
Tibialise posterior strengthening
Give the exercises a try. If you have any issues get in touch with one of our physios with your questions.
Do you sit for work? Even if you don't chances are you sit for a good part of your day. Recent research has suggested that on average we sit for 9 hours each day!!!
All this sitting position does a lot of things to our bodies. Weight gain, reduced leg strength, muscle density and neck and lower back issues. One thing that we find increasingly that often is forgotten is gluteal weakness. The sitting position puts the the hips into a bent position leading to tightness of the hip flexors (at the front) and weakness of the gluteal hip extensors (at the back).
Weakess of the glutes then can lead to a spiral of further tightness of the hips and gradually increasing load and reliance on the lower back.
There are a LOT of exercises that can improve gluteal strength but a staple is the glute bridge and its progressions. The glute bridge is a favourite because it is relatively simple to perform, safe and it can be beneficial for everyone from elderlies that have trouble getting around through to athletes.
So let's start with the simple hip bridge, the most basic version. Paul Truong, Senior physio at our Casula clinic shows how its done.
If the hip bridge gets easy you can add holds or place a weight like a bar or dumbell on your hips to make the exercise more difficult.
You could also progress to a one leg version for a real challenge.
Another of our favourite progressions is the elevated bridge. This helps to increase the range through which the hip works. To add some stability challenge to this you can perform the exercise on an exercise ball. check out Paul's video below.
If you can do this version then the final version in our sequence is the walking bridge. We love this exercise because it also challenges your trunk stabilisers (core muscles) while also using your glute muscles.
Paul demonstrates it in the video below:
Give these a rtry and build your hip strength and save yourself from tight and weak hips!
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