After a stroke, foot drop (also known as drop foot)may occur which is paralysis of the muscles that raise the front part of the foot. Patients with this condition will drag their toes or have to lift their leg higher when walking to prevent dragging the foot. Treatment often involves exercises to strengthen the muscles and using a brace called an ankle foot orthoses (AFO) which fits inside the shoe.
Example of Ankle Foot Orthosis
”Courtesy of Orthomerica Products, Inc. © 2010.”
Another treatment is functional electrical stimulation (FES) which is used to stimulate the muscles that dorsiflex the ankle (raise the front part of the foot). Two devices specifically designed to address drop foot using FES are WalkAide and Bioness L300. Below are videos from from these two manufacturers.
From the WalkAide website: "WalkAide is a medical device that, after more than a decade in development, has received marketing clearance from the FDA for improving walking ability of people experiencing foot drop. Invented by a team of researchers at the University of Alberta, WalkAide uses functional electrical stimulation to restore typical nerve-to-muscle signals in the leg and foot, effectively lifting the foot at the appropriate time. The resulting movement is a smoother, more natural and safer stepping motion. It allows faster walking for longer distances with less fatigue. In fact, many people who try WalkAide experience immediate and substantial improvement in their walking ability, which increases their mobility, functionality, and overall independence."
return from foot drop to effects of stroke