BEST 3 Exercises for Foot Drop; Return to Normal Walking

BEST 3 Exercises for Foot Drop; Return to Normal Walking

♪ Bob and Brad, the two most famous ♪ ♪ Physical therapists on the internet. ♪ – Hi there, folks, I’m Bob
Schrupp, physical therapist. – Brad Heineck, physical therapist. – Together we are the most
famous physical therapists on the internet. – In our own opinion, of course, Bob. – Today we’re going to discuss
the best three exercises for foot drop, return to normal walking. – Right. – Big problem after, a lot
of times after a stroke. Or a lot of times people
get, maybe neuropathy. – Right, some kind of nerve
– Nerve damage – Or it could be from an accident. You know, if a lesion that way. But this is a system, so it’s
not three separate exercises. But they all work together. – That’s right. If you’re new to our channel, by the way, please take a second to subscribe to us. We provide videos how to
stay healthy, fit, pain-free. And we upload every day. Also, you’ll want to join us
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always giving something away. We’re not giving away today, Saturday. – It’s Saturday. – Yeah, it’s gonna start
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– That’s right. We’re tiny. All right, Bob, so we did do a video a few years ago on this exact same topic. But we’re addressing it, the approach is a little bit different. A little bit better, I think, here. – So this is an updated video.
– Systematic approach. – So if you have foot
drop, in other words, you’ll know you have it because
it’ll be typically one foot, and you’ll hear that slapping. – That slapping, right. That foot slap. – Sloppy, slapping foot on the floor. And you just have a hard time pulling your toes up like this, or you may not be able to at all. – And you’re gonna catch
your toe a lot, too. – Exactly. – The one thing that you really want to distinguish between, though, Brad. ‘Cause quite often I’ll see people have, they think they have foot drop, and they actually have
weakness in their hip. – Sure. – And they can’t lift
the hip up high enough. – Okay. – So you want to make sure it is the foot, and not the hip that’s weak.
– Sure. And one way you could test is just simply in a seated position, put
your feet out in front of you and dorsiflexor. In other words, here, let
me do it from the profile. Can you pull your ankles
up like this all the way? – Exactly. That’s a great test. – One side compared to the other. And it might be this is my normal foot and the other one only
goes up half as far. That would be an obvious sign. – And it could be a little weak, too, if you bring them both up and if you have a friend push on it. – Yep. – And they push on this one
and it kind of gives way. – There you go. – But the fact if you’re still able to pull it all the way, the full range, that means it should be
able to clear the floor when you walk.
– Right. So there’s a couple of things
that could be the problem. It may be a weak anterior tib muscle. Or it could be that that
muscle’s not that weak, but tightness on the other muscles, on the calf muscles,
somewhere in those tissues. One way or another you need
to have that range of motion, so you want to do some stretching. So this is the first step.
– Right. – And there’s a lot of
ways to stretch your ankle into dorsiflexion, but the
best way, Bob and I feel, is you either use an incline board, or use one of the ProStretch devices here. ‘Cause they really get
after it aggressively. They do a nice job.
– Yeah. So this is kind of, I
think their first phase of the ProStretch, and
it was quite simple. You just go in there and lean on it, and you can obviously really
stretch the calf here easily. You can do it in a seated position, even. – Sure. – You can even go like
this and work on it. But I actually use this one, because I use it prior to running and I like it for plantar fasciitis. So it actually stretches the greater toe. I know I’m going off on
a different subject here, but I get my foot in here just like this. Did this this morning, I just
give it a good old stretcher. And it’s stretching the
bottom of the foot too. – [Brad] Stretching that whole area. – [Bob] That whole posterior chain there. – So you can also use an
incline board like this, and you can make these. We actually have a video
on how to make one of these if you have someone handy in the family. Or you can purchase them as well. But this works really well
just using body weight. And right now I’m gonna stretch here. I’m gonna get my gastroc. And then you also want to bend the knee. And make sure you get the
stretch with the knee bent. – You want it stretched
both ways, in other words. – Right, and you can hold that stretch up to 30 seconds while you relax. I’m holding onto the Booyah Stik just for something to balance, but you can go up to a cupboard, a wall, banister, whatever there may be, so you can relax while you’re stretching. – Now none of these are
gonna help the strength. These are laying the groundwork so that if the strength comes
back you’ve got the motion. ‘Cause if you don’t have the motion and the strength comes back, you’re still gonna have a foot drop. – Right, so this is phase one. – And one thing, we mentioned
this a little earlier, Brad, but you can have nerve damage, and how long does it take
nerves sometimes to recover? – Months, months.
– It can take 12 to 18 months or longer, and they may not recover. So there’s that possibility too. In a stroke, you’re relying
on other parts of the brain hopefully to take over and help out. And swelling to go down.
– Right. – So all these things take time. So you want to make
sure you have the motion while it’s there.
– Right. Yeah, if you don’t have the motion doesn’t matter what returns,
it’s not gonna work. So this is a very– – Important step. – Yeah, very basic part. So make sure you’re stretching, getting the ankle to dorsiflexor so the toes can come up all the way. Number two is you need to strengthen, make sure you have the muscle strength to pull that ankle up,
because that’s the whole thing of foot drop, is you’re
not able to dorsiflex and then your toe drags,
and that’s the drop. Or if you come down and it
falls forward and slaps. But that toe drag is so critical ’cause that’s gonna make you fall. – Right. – That’s gonna make you trip up on the slightest little
thing on the floor. – What I’ll see even, on people, they might have enough strength
to do it for ten steps, and all of a sudden they start to fatigue. – Sure. – And then they become susceptible
to catching their toes. – Sure.
– So it’s more sporadic, you don’t know when it’s gonna happen. – That’s a good point, Bob. Now I’m gonna show just a real basic way to strengthen that anterior tib, the muscles that is responsible for that pulling the toe up so it doesn’t drag. And all you do is simply ankle pumps. Now you can see I’ve got normal strength and both feet are doing the same. But if you have foot drop,
like we mentioned before, one of them is probably
not gonna go as high. Or it may be so weak you
don’t have any motion. If that’s the case, I like
to use a cane like this for assistance, and then
you’re gonna pull it all the way up
– You’ve got a cane with kind of a flat handle. – Yep.
– That works the best. – I call it the pistol grip, okay. – Pistol grip, yep. This works really well, Brad, I thought this was a great idea. – Yeah, we’re gonna use
eccentric strengthening to get it started, which
is a very proven method to strengthen a muscle. Yep.
– To regain strength. Yeah. – So I’m gonna pull it all the way up and then I’m gonna try to hold it there and take the cane away,
and let it down slowly. Now if you’ve got really
weak muscles there, that can be very challenging,
particularly at first. But if you can even hold
it for half a second and then let it down, and they’ll often times
kind of shake like that, if you can see that.
– Yeah. – Very typical symptom there. – The other thing that might
work would be a dog leash. Brad.
– Oh! – If you put a dog leash
around there and held it and then let it go.
– Right, yeah. You know anything that you
can use to assist that motion. – Right, that cane just
seemed, it’s really almost like it was made for it.
– Right, yeah. It’s– – And a lot of you are gonna have a cane, so it works out well for that. – So you’re gonna do that. Three sets of 10 is a
good thing to work up to. Remember, when you start,
10 of them might be enough and you might be so
fatigued you hardly do it. Now the nice thing about this is, after you do this it
might get those muscles just kind of triggered
enough where all of a sudden if you didn’t have any motion, you have a little motion. And if you even– that
much progress is big. – Right.
– That’s really critical. That’s a big green light,
you’re gonna improve. So you really want to
continue to work on this. Probably not seven days a week, but I’m gonna say five days
a week is nice to give it– – I think you can do it a lot, in my mind. In my opinion.
– Right. I’m a big believer in
taking at least one day off. Forget about it. – All right, day of rest.
– (laughs) But, you know, you’re gonna know. People, you probably
get to know your body. – Well I think it’s one of those, because it’s such an endurance muscle, I think you could do it
a couple times a day. When you’re in your chair, just– and especially if you’ve
got the cane available, that’s my opinion. – Yeah, and you’re gonna
get different opinions from therapist to therapist.
– Yeah. All right, what’s next?
– Now the next one is, this is a big one, gait training. Actually focus on how you walk. Now you can use a cane. I like to use a little bit taller, and I’m gonna use a Booyah
Stik because it’s taller. And I just have more control. – Brad’s got the gait
belt on because this is, you really want to be
safety first here, right? You do not want to fall
and put yourself back here. – If you’re to the point where
you can walk but it drags, but you feel pretty confident
with your balancing, you don’t think you need
a person, that’s fine. But you probably might
want a stick or a cane. – The person would be right along with you in case you lost your balance,
if you didn’t feel safe. – Yeah, make sure you’re safe,
have the person with you. The next thing is, get a full-sized mirror for some bio-feedback, we call that. So you can have it on the wall. We’ve got one here that rolls around, that’s pretty convenient. Most people don’t have the
roll-around one at home. But then you can look at the mirror, and you can actually see,
you might look in the mirror and say, “jeez, I never
realized my foot dragged, or you might circumduct, you might have some of
these unusual movements that you may not be aware of
until you see it in the mirror. And then when you see it,
it helps your mind correct. – Yeah, that’s exactly right. The mind is gonna help try to correct it. – So if this is my weak
foot, you’re gonna focus on lifting it up and swinging it through. And when the foot comes down,
the heel is gonna hit first. I always tell my patients, just think about your heel hitting first. Because you must dorsiflex
to get that to happen. So whatever it takes so your
foot is in this position, you might be looking in the mirror, might be thinking about
the heel hitting first, or it might be thinking
about your toes coming up towards your nose. Everyone has a little different
way of thinking about it. – Sure. – The next thing is, you can use hurdles. And by hurdles you can do
simply is get some two-by-fours. And (laughs) these I actually
went out in my garage this morning and I cut them up. They’re nothing fancy at all. You should have at least four, but it’s nice to have more than four. For this video, four is enough. You’re gonna get them a
certain distance apart, so that when you walk over them– Now, this is, if you’re unstable, you really need someone holding onto you. Because that could make you
trip and you’d have a fall. I’ll get this out of here. So I’m gonna go here, and this– If you touch the wood, obviously, you didn’t lift your foot up high enough. So the goal is to walk smoothly
and picking up the foot, heel striking first, all the way through. It is nice to have probably up to 10 of these, you could have. And as you feel more comfortable with it, you could tip the two-by-fours up on end. – More of a challenge. – Yep, then you’ve got 3 1/2 inches to go. And you’re gonna go up and down, and thinking about right there
the heel goes down first, forcing that anterior tib muscle to roll. – So obviously it’s not
a natural walking pattern anymore then.
– No. – But you’re trying to exaggerate it so that when you do walk,
you’ll have enough dorsiflexion to get by.
– You get some carryover, – Some carryover, right.
– Yeah, exactly. – By over-emphasizing.
– Right. So you’re gonna work on this
for maybe five minutes or so. Don’t get so– if it’s hard for you, don’t get frustrated with it. Take a break, and come back to it. – Because eventually you’re
gonna want to work on endurance. You want to make sure
the foot’s gonna stay held up appropriately, like if
you go on a walk for a block. – Exactly. – ‘Cause if you start
tripping towards the end, that’s just as dangerous as if you’ve been tripping all along. – Exactly. So obviously it’s one of those things, take your time, be consistent, and get that muscle back to work. – All right. – So that ankle dorsiflexes. – All right. Thanks, everybody, for watching. (quick music)

41 thoughts on “BEST 3 Exercises for Foot Drop; Return to Normal Walking”

  • I took the test and have full ankle range. I have “foot slap” on my left foot and sometimes have trouble clearing the floor. What hip exercises do I need?

  • Wish I had have known this many years ago, I have foot drop from nerve damage. I am 69 years old, got this at 36 yrs (car accident), all I was given was a foot caliper. However my inner self made me start doing exercise as best as I could, still drops but nowhere near as bad as it was, never too late I will start these excercise's daily. Wish I didn't have arthritis of the knee, hinders things a bit.' I have two hip replacements your exercises have helped me enormously. Cheers

  • Thankyou for this great a stroke survivor I'm always keeping an out for any new uploads to inspire and motivate me to try out new exercises at home or to incorporate with anything else my physio assigns 👍👍👊👌

  • What if you suffer from a combination of drop foot and rolled ankle? Recovery from a stroke and my foot turns in an angle when slightly raising it. What exercises can I do?

  • My God, guys… you just described the way I am ( stroke ) I have to do theses exercises . ( foot drops ) . Thank you so much! I won’t give up! 🙏🙏🙏🇨🇭🇨🇭🇨🇭

  • 14 years ago I had a spinal cord injury resulting in a nerve being severed which of course resulted in foot drop.
    It took my consultant 18 months to do an MRI then inform me I should go home as there wasn't anything they could do for me.
    I had to work hard to relearn how to walk and run again…..although the run is more a hop skip and a jump.
    I learned to cycle and I joined the gym plus practiced stretching etc. I've probably got about 40% use of my foot which is far better than it was. I'll never wear high heels again and I certainly can't wear flats. I do find wearing a small heel (1.5 inch) helps my heel to hit the floor first. I wear a lot of trainers. Hard shoes are out for me.
    I find Skechers shoes are ok…..but I'm always on the lookout for more comfort with style.

  • I wish I had your advice 20 years ago! Foot drop as a result of nerve damage during surgery. Inspired by your suggestions today, I'm about to get my cane from the car ……. many thanks B&B

  • LOL. 3 sets of 10. These people can hardly do one or two, and I’m not talking about sets. Be reasonable, Give them a break.

  • Thanks very much docs, really very beneficial channel. Please tell exercises of ball of foot pain. May God bless you both,amen.

  • I recently had a fall incident and hurt my right SI joint. Simultaneously my right leg got numb from knee down and had foot drop. I am still recovering. The doctors have not been able to identify the cause of numbness and foot drop as there were 2 disk ruptures too but nothing major. Please suggest what could be the cause and how can i help myself get better faster.

  • I am still in recovery from my stroke 16 months ago. I can walk 5 miles easy but still having problems with my joints so walk with a bad limp. The endurance is good but the muscles and tendons are still weak. These are good tips, I'm actually trying them right now

  • Hello and thank you for your informative & helpful videos. Please would you consider sharing ways to cope with lymphedema which seriously affects one’s mobility.

  • hello  thank you for this great exercise video for foot drop. I was recently diagnosed with it. also have to weare a brace that is shaped to keep my foot from bending out of shape.   I have added this exercise to my list  so I can get better control .  it it was due to a fall at home. last year. I still stumble  and have foot drag. aand come close to falling. but the brace is a life saver.

  • Amazing, just overlook most common condition for this symptom. For me its a disc problem. Got this from Spine Universe … " foot drop is typically caused by a herniated disc in the lumbar spine, specifically at L4-L5; the fourth and fifth vertebrae in the low back." And also true is that many, many people have lumbar spine issue

  • Wow. Because of multiple sclerosis, I'll NEVER have the ability to fix my drop foot. But this video has some good advice and stretches for drop foot that I can use.

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