Brightway Logo
Answers & Community for Brain Injury
Ask a QuestionAsk Question

Is there any specific exercise that can help with foot drop?

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Senior physical therapist

Answer transcribed from Brightway's interview with Dr. Cristen Gordon (pt.2):


Yes, there are plenty of exercises. The first thing to figure out is what is the cause of foot drop. It can be caused because of spasticity of the calf muscle, but it can also be caused because of weakness and then the muscles in the front of your leg. That is the first step. If it turns out to be a weakness, there may be strengthening exercises you need to do. If it turns out to be tightness of the muscles in the back of the leg, there may be stretches you need to do. There's also plenty of times where you need to do a combination of both, so again, there are some braces that help activate those muscles as well. There are some dynamic braces like AFOs that are carbon fiber that moves with you while you're walking. AFO stands for ankle-foot orthosis, which is a brace specifically designed to minimize foot drop. There have been many versions of AFOs, but if you're looking into building strength and increasing range of motion, you may look into some of the more dynamic ones. There are also electric stimulation machines that you can use to not necessarily improve strength because research doesn't necessarily show that it increases strength, but there is some research to show that it increases or improves coordination to get those muscles activating at the correct time. There's a company called Bioness I think we mentioned last week, that created an electric AFO basically using electric stimulation that will activate those muscles to lift your foot while you're walking at the appropriate time. There are lots of options for that. I would encourage you to get with a physical therapist to figure out the best option for you.