Foot drop and use of a foot drop brace

A drop foot brace ensures that you do not suffer or suffer less from the consequences of foot drop. With foot drop, the foot no longer rolls properly due to a problem with the foot lifters. The cause must often be sought in the nerves. This could be due to, for example, a hernia or other type of nerve compression or due to an underlying disease. Anyone who suffers from foot drop will notice that he or she is more likely to trip over bumps or thresholds. The change in gait can also cause joint wear and tear more quickly. A foot drop brace pulls the forefoot up with every step so that you can walk normally again. Braces are available from Össur, Orliman, Rafys, Boxia and Super Ortho, among others.

Foot drop and foot drop brace

  • About the foot drop
  • Cause
  • Hand tread and wear
  • Investigation into the cause of foot drop
  • Use of a foot drop brace
  • Peroneal feather
  • Availability of braces for foot drop


About the foot drop

Foot drop is when there is a problem with properly lifting the forefoot while walking or running. This ensures that the movement of the foot is no longer correct and it hits the ground with a bang, hence the name drop foot. If you have foot drop, this can lead to frequent stumbling and falling because the foot suddenly does something different than expected. It can also lead to wear and tear on various joints.


The cause of foot drop is weakness of the foot lifters. This specifically concerns the muscles of the long big toe extensor ( extensor hallucis longus ), the short big toe extensor ( extensor hallucis brevis ), the extensor digitorum longus muscle , the extensor digitorum brevis muscle and the front shin muscle ( tibialis anterior ). The underlying causes of problems with foot lifts can be very diverse. The problem is often that the nerves that normally control the muscles in the forefoot are blocked somewhere. This may be due to, for example, a hernia, a fracture in a vertebra, a chronic condition of the peripheral nerves or nerve fibers or local trauma. Foot drop can also occur as a result or remnant of a stroke, cerebral palsy and diseases such as MS, ALS, polio, muscular dystrophy, Guillain-Barré syndrome and Friedreich’s ataxia.

Hand tread and wear

When someone has foot drop, this can result in a so-called cock walk : as a compensation, they lift the knee higher on one side to prevent the foot from hitting the ground or dragging on the ground. This can lead to one-sided wear and tear on the ankle, knee and hip, among other things. There are also many people who have difficulty driving due to foot drop because they can no longer properly press the pedals.

Investigation into the cause of foot drop

If you suffer from foot drop, it is important to have the cause investigated. The underlying cause may be able to be removed. This may be the case, for example, if the problem with the foot is the result of a pinched nerve in the back. Treatment by a manual therapist or physiotherapist may then provide relief, after which the foot will function again as before. The key often lies in removing the pressure on the nerve in question. Some foot exercises can be done for this.

Use of a foot drop brace

In many cases, wearing a foot drop brace can provide a solution, both in preventing stumbling while suffering from the condition and in recovery from it. A foot drop brace consists of an inlay that you place in your shoe and is connected to a strap that is placed around the lower leg just above the ankle. The two parts of the brace are connected by an elastic band. With every step you take, the brace ensures that your foot does what it should normally do: the forefoot is pulled up and the gait of the foot is perfect again. Such braces are lightweight and can be worn in most shoes. If the shoe has a removable sole – as with many sports shoes – it may be useful to remove the sole while wearing the brace. The inlay then ensures that there is no height difference with the other foot. There are also drop foot braces with calf bandages. Such a bandage provides a firmer feeling and distributes the pressure of the brace more over the entire lower leg. Some people find this more comfortable to sit on.If you are being treated for the underlying cause of foot drop, it is useful to wear the brace during this period to prevent you from tripping or falling. Once the underlying cause has been resolved and thus the source of the problem, you will soon notice that the use of the brace is no longer necessary. If it is a chronic problem where the underlying cause cannot be resolved, it may be necessary to wear the foot drop brace permanently. Wearing the brace can then help prevent secondary problems such as joint wear or back problems due to the change in gait.

Peroneal feather

It may also happen that a doctor or occupational therapist recommends the use of an ankle-foot orthosis or peroneal spring . In this case there is not an elastic band that pulls on the forefoot at the front, but there is a plastic construction at the back. Such an orthosis simultaneously stabilizes the ankle.

Availability of braces for foot drop

Drop foot braces are widely available through both web shops and medical device stores. For example, you can purchase a foot drop brace from the brands Össur, Orliman, Rafys and Boxia, among others. Prices for such a brace vary from approximately 40 to 80 euros ( price last checked in 2020 ). You can then see for yourself whether you prefer to use a brace with only a strap above the ankle or one with a calf bandage. Please note, sometimes the strap for the foot and the strap for above the ankle are sold separately.It is also possible to purchase a peroneal spring yourself . These are made in different sizes by the Super Ortho brand. You can purchase a peroneal spring yourself for approximately €40 ( price last checked in 2020 ).

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