Drop foot options

How does everyone deal with foot drop and how effective do you think the options are?

  1. Use nothing. - This is what I do around the house, usually using furniture and walls to check balance. It is fuss free but does involve an exaggerated gait and as indoors the stride is a lot shorter, when the foot catches it is less dramatic.

  2. FES. With this I can sometimes get an almost normal gait, but I find it very hit and miss where the pads are fitted. Even when it seems to be working well, it still fails to trigger occasionally and therefore cannot walk with any confidence. Also by the time I have connected everything and routed the wires through my clothing, I have lost the will to go out.

  3. Boxia. This device seems to be more constant when walking, but it does have the disadvantage of holding the foot in position and tightening the shoes quite a bit, so only really comfortable for shortish periods.

4 . I haven’t tried a splint as this seems to be even more rigid, but someone may confirm they can be brilliant

  1. I have met someone wearing a Turbomed XTERN. He says it has changed his life and can now go walking anywhere on any surface. I believe it is quite expensive, but wondered if anyone else uses one?

I and probably many others, look forward to any input on this topic. There do seem to be many options and I am a little annoyed that all these options (and possibly some I havent heard of yet) were not explained to me by the stroke team at the hospital or the sketchy support afterwards. One year in and still discovering new things that supposed specialists should have already known about.

Hi, I use FES and after getting used to it all I find it amazing. Have a look at the accessories you can purchase. I now have a leg cuff meaning the pads are always in the right place and I’m able to do it independently. Before it was really hard as I have limited movement in my right arm. I recently invested in the pebble Bluetooth switch that goes on your shoe and eliminates the need for the wire to your foot. I get mine through OML website this has everything and the sales team is really great too. Really hope this helps

Is the FES a machine anybody know about light weight callipers to help with foot drop

Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES)

Functional Electrical Stimulation can be used to improve walking and hand and arm function for both adults and children who have Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy, Parkinson’s, Stroke or other neurological conditions.

Take a look at Patients | Odstock Medical that has all the information and contact details

I had an FES machine, which worked well but I had an allergic reaction to the pads. I now have Boxia and agree that it hurts if too tight. Like you, I don’t use it around the house.

@John_Jeff_Maynard I was involved in a Patient Call group re FES last week and a lady on it also had a reaction but they were able to offer different electrode pads which has eased the problem considerably-May be worth taking to them?

They did try those on me, but the allergic reaction was there. Fortunately, my drop foot improved to the point where I didn’t need the FES machine. Unfortunately, I then had a small second stroke and the drop foot came back.

Hi PSstingray -When I was in the hospital they custom-made an AFO splint. They made a cast of the back of my leg and bottom of my foot. From that they made a lightweight, plastic “AFO” (they can be bought on the net, not custom fitted. ) It went under my foot, over my heel and up the back of my calf. I wore it over knee-high socks. It fit inside my regular tennis shoe after the insole on that shoe was removed. It wasn’t uncomfortable. But after several weeks I stopped using it as I wanted to learn to strengthen everything without it. However, at the point I removed it, I don’t think I had drop foot anymore. :heartbeat:Jeanne

@John_Jeff_Maynard sorry to hear you’ve had a second stroke and that the drop foot has returned. I hope you find a solution that suits you.

The second stroke was two years ago now. Walking better but I need my Boxia ankle support.

It sounds like your hospital was more on it than where I was. Really pleased you don’t need it anymore. :+1:

Hi. I think it depends very much on how bad the foot drop is.
I started off with the Neurodyn Sporlastic originally (NHS issue) but it wasn’t providing enough lift because of my lack of hip and knee lift. I then tried various other types of splints etc including FES, carbon fibre splints and silicone splints. After a gap of 6 or so years, I found that I could walk better with the original Neurodyn as my leg was bending better. I find that with the rigid splints, my foot doesn’t bend properly, with the Boxia I can only wear certain types of shoes (and most of my shoes are not that type) and the FES was a bit hit and miss, with the problem of wires suddenly coming adrift (although wireless would alleviate this problem).
A lot of physios recommend the wearing of some sort of splint all the time, as poor gait can put the other leg joints out of alignment. I have tried to do without in the past, but can’t get around as well as with my Neurodyn. The other good thing about my Neurodyn, is that it will fit in most of my shoes. :flat_shoe: