What is Foot Drop?
In Multiple Sclerosis foot drop (or drop foot) is exactly what the name implies; The front of your foot drops as you take a step causing your toes to drag across the floor which of course can cause you to trip.
Basically what happens in MS is a partial paralysis of the muscle that lifts the front of the foot up (tibialis anterior) which inhibits your ability to lift the front of your foot up (dorsiflex) as you are taking a step. This can be the result of a damaged Peroneal nerve or some sort of lesion interrupting the signals sent to it from the brain (as MS does).
Foot Drop Complications
Well for one, the obvious, it can cause you to trip and even injure yourself upon falling. Over time (depending on how long this issue lasts for you) foot drop can impair your gait (the movement of your walking) by causing you to compensate for your foot drop by (for example) lifting your knee higher to avoid dragging your toes across the floor or even causing you to swing your leg out with each step rather then swinging it strait forward. For a while, when I had foot drop, it started causing joint paint in my hip because of my impaired gate, I was putting pressure on my leg in a way that I should not have been.
How to Treat Foot Drop
A simple solution is an ankle foot orthosis (AFO) [more simply known as a foot brace] which can be worn to help keep the toes lifted. This simply goes around your foot and ankle under your shoe and pants (if you really want to hide it) and is what I used for foot drop. They also can put a rubber fitting on the bottom of your shoe so that when it does drop down it will slide across the floor rather then grip the floor which also can cause you to trip... Some people say physical therapy can help strengthen your ability to take a proper step which I totally agree with as I did much physical therapy and it definitely helped! For foot drop that persists there are small electronic devices that strap to your leg an deliver a small electrical signal (using AA batteries and two small electrodes) to your muscle to help stimulate it as you walk helping you lift your foot.