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kelly4004 03-17-2010 06:39 PM

foot drop scared and full of questions
Hi, I had mortons neuroma surgery in December. My podiatrist removed the neuroma between the second and third toe, going through the top of my foot.
I have now been dx with foot drop and peroneal neuropathy by a neurologist.
I cant stand on my tip toes or heel walk and my foot drags if I dont lift my leg high to take a step. My neurologist is sending me to USF to have a neurological professor do all my testing EMG NVC and a arterial doppler test.
I now have to do physical therapy and get an AFO brace. And have an MRI.
So please excuse the length of this post but I am scared and have many questions and hope some of you who have experience with these things can help. Okay first question I am scared to death of needles and I understand the EMG is done with needles so be honest everyone is this very painful?
Okay secondly This AFO brace are they comfortable do they fit in your shoes easily and are they hard to walk with? Third The neurologist dx me with foot drop by testing she did while I was standing and walking, also a resistance test while I was sitting, when I am laying on the bed I can flex my toes and ankle futher towards me than when I am standing(not nearly as far as my good foot) Is this normal for drop foot, I thought when you have drop foot you couldnt flex toward you at all? Thanks for taking the time to read this any advice please??? scared and nervous:confused:

emmie54 03-17-2010 09:26 PM

Re: foot drop scared and full of questions
Hi Kelley, I was diagnosed with neuropathy of the deep peroneal nerve and foot drop 18 months ago. My ortho dx the foot drop and sent me to a neurologist who did a nerve conduction study and EMG. I basically have no conduction past the ankle joint. I also had some mild sural nerve involvement.

Okay, the truth is that they do use lots of needles during the nerve conduction study. They are similar to acupuncture needle in that they are very very thin and you really don't feel them. If it freaks you out I suggest you don't watch! I guess I'm freaky the opposite way because I want to watch everything. It's really not a painful test just sort of weird. When they "fire" the nerve your foot jerks around, contracts, and does all these strange things that you are not in control of. I found it to be kind of cool to watch but like I said, I'm weird that way.

Regarding the foot drop, mine resolved with physical therapy. I went to a PT that specializes in feet and she is beyond awesome. I still occasinally get it out of the blue but so far it's just been brief and sporadic.

My ortho basically did the same tests you were describing to diagnose it. I don't think it keeps you from flexing your foot. It's just when you walk the foot doesn't receive the signal properly to raise your foot so it sort of flops. When I would sit on the side of the table the bad foot hangs lower than the other, if that makes sense.

I know every one is different but I hope the fact that my foot drop resolved gives you some hope that you may not have this forever. I recently went back for six weeks of PT because I was feeling more and more weakness. It feels much better now. I never wore the brace because I was walking surprisingly well given the amoiunt of nerve damage the test showed. The neuro said that he was amazed I was walking as well as I was. I do find if I really really focus on my foot coming up it does seem to help.

I was put on Lyrica but it gave me blurred vision. I tried Neurontin and Topamax but had side effects that I couldn't live with. I now take Cymbalta and it has worked better on the nerve pain than anything else I've tried.

oh, another thing: the neuro told me that nerves can heal themselves over time. He said the longer you go without the nerve conducting the less the chance of recovery but it is possible.

Hope this helps and hope I've answered everything. If not, feel free to ask.


kelly4004 03-19-2010 05:41 PM

Re: foot drop scared and full of questions
Thank you so much for your advice, I am glad to hear the needles are very thin.
My appt. is March 29th.I am also glad to hear that your foot drop resolved with physical therapy. You still have the pain? Have your doctors said that the pain is permanent, or do they say it will also resolve with time? Also does your foot turn colors mine will turn a deep bluish purple color when i take a shower or put my barefoot down on the ground it changes color in about 4 to 5 minutes?

emmie54 03-19-2010 10:05 PM

Re: foot drop scared and full of questions
[QUOTE=kellyevans40;4207577]Thank you so much for your advice, I am glad to hear the needles are very thin.
My appt. is March 29th.I am also glad to hear that your foot drop resolved with physical therapy. You still have the pain? Have your doctors said that the pain is permanent, or do they say it will also resolve with time? Also does your foot turn colors mine will turn a deep bluish purple color when i take a shower or put my barefoot down on the ground it changes color in about 4 to 5 minutes?[/QUOTE]

I do still have pain. The neuro told me that nerves can heal themselves over time and it was no way for him to tell if that would be the case with me. I had an arthroscopy to remove scar tissue that was impinging my joint and it was during this surgery that the peroneal nerve was damaged or at least irritated because I immediately had shooting pains into my big toe as soon as the block wore off. Tha initial intense pain did get better but has never completely gone away. we can't know for sure if mine is due to scar tissue compressing the nerve or if it is damaged. I tend to lean toward damaged since it has been there since surgery. My ortho has been doing nerve blockis by injection for the last year. I cant do this forever though. Too many injections can cause damage, according to my surgeon. He could go in and do a nerve release but I have been hesitant to do so since it may not do anything for me if it is indeed damaged. That would be my fourth surgery on this foot and the trauma of that has it's own set of rrisks.

I am on Cymbalta which has helped a lot with the pain. My last injection was in January and is now starting to wear off. So I'll be faced with having to decide on the surgery or not. I just don't know if I can bring myself to do it though.

Regarding the foot changing colors; it will be redder than the other on occassion. I have not had the purplish, deep red color (xcept for the first couple of months following my PTT surgery) How long ago was your surgery?

kelly4004 03-20-2010 07:47 AM

Re: foot drop scared and full of questions
My surgery was in december its been a little over 3 months, my foot used to turn red, but has graduated to a blueish purple color. when I was in my neuros office it did this during the exam she did'nt understand why it had changed color and I have to take an arterial doppler test. I am waiting until after I see the professor of neurology at USF (my neuro is sending me to her because she said she thinks my foot is to complicated for her to help) maybe the professor will know why, I do have insurance, but this is getting expensive and I still have an MRI to get waiting for insurance company to approve it ugh. I was wondering if the color change was a symptom of nerve damage.
wow you've really had alot of surgery. Are you still working? I am so afraid of losing my job. My job requires me to stand on my feet 8-10 hrs a day. right now I am pulling 5 at the most and in extreme pain. I am trying to hang in there as long as I can, I really need the health insurance. And dont know what to do. I dont have any more sick time I was out for 3 months and just went back last week.
wish I would not have had the original surgery. I hope your pain gets better for you with out more surgery!!!

kelly4004 03-22-2010 10:53 AM

Re: foot drop scared and full of questions
Well I start physical therapy today. I am excited and hopeful that eventually this will bring about some movement and relieve some pain. Three days ago after comming home rom work I noticed on the top of my foot I dont know what to call it but it looks like a cave in or crevice an indention I also have alot of pain in this area. Dont know what this is? I also start Lyrica today am a little nervous any one taking Lyrica? can you still work? I have heard it can make you feel dizzy or have blurry vision. I know all meds have side affects that not everyone gets, but the Lyrica is so expensive I hope I can tolerate it and not be wasting my money.

freeshiloh 04-05-2010 10:12 PM

Re: foot drop scared and full of questions
Hello Kelly,

First of all, I feel for you because I also suffer from foot drop. Three months ago I fell down some stairs and dislocated my knee and shattered my tibia. The damage to the knee stretched my peroneal nerve so badly that I have foot drop. I cannot lift my foot nor can I lift my toes. I wear an AFO brace 24/7 (except when I shower). It took some time to get used to. I've been wearing it for about 6 weeks now. The toughest part was getting used to sleeping with it on. I am told that nerves heal slowly, approximately 1 milimeter per day and that it could be up to a year before I will know if it will heal. As for the nerve test, you may have already had it but for me it was extremely painful. My doctor implied that I have a low tolerance to pain but I hated it and would not want to have another. Part of my sensitivity may have been due to the fact that when I had the test it was less than a month since my accident and I was overly sensitive to everything. I am anxious to hear the results of your test and your recovery. I wish you the best. This is very traumatic for me since I am a shoe princess and cannot wear anything but sneakers. The AFO is wide and since I cannot manipulate my foot like I used to, I can only wear a shoe that is wide and that either laces or zips in the front. I also cannot drive. Take care and good luck.

Crash4honda 04-13-2010 12:03 AM

Re: foot drop scared and full of questions
Long story in short format, was riding a motorcycle in the desert exactly 4 yrs ago and was hit head on by an offroad truck. Shattered every bone below my waist and from my left shoulder down. Tore everything in my right knee and ended up having drop foot so I feel you fear. No one gave me any info at the time and the doctors gave me a 50/50 chance in living. I didn't know of these sites to ask questions.

If I could offer some advice on this topic, the hardest part in this situation is dealing with the mental part. Yes your life will change but no one knows what the future will bring. Nothing is set is stone. For example, I am walking around and working on getting back into shape.

Had the nerve tests done and it hurts a little bit, just like getting a shot. The test is not long so you will get thru it. I wear an AFO 24/7 since my nerve never came back (but not around the home or at the beach). Nerve pain for me was the worst during the first 2 1/2 year (#10 on the pain scale every 12 seconds, every day) but it has gotten better. On Lyrica and it helps. Your body will adjust.

you can drive, just learn to use your left foot for the brake. takes time but you will get thru it. Everyone does.

freeshiloh 04-14-2010 08:25 AM

Re: foot drop scared and full of questions
Thanks for sharing your story. I have a question about driving. Are you able to use the gas pedal with your bad foot? You mention using your left foot for the brake which is not a problem for me but I am concerned that since I can't lift my right foot I won't be able to push and lift my foot for the gas pedal. I'm considering getting my car modified with hand controls but don't know much about it. Thanks for any suggestions you can provide.

Crash4honda 04-14-2010 11:15 PM

Re: foot drop scared and full of questions
I use my right foot (bad foot) for the gas and my left foot for the brake (drive an automatic; haven't tried a manual yet). Since my right foot is in an AFO, I focus on pushing my leg which ends up pushing my foot forward instead of what I used to do, which was pushing the gas pedal with my foot. As for slowing down, you just have to remind yourself to lift your leg (ie-foot) off the pedal toward the seat. It takes a bit to get use to, but it is very doable for anyone. You just have to reteach your brain.

Plus, keeping you left foot infront of the brake (don't rest it on the pedal or you will rides your brakes which is bad) will allow you to hit the brake quicker. This doesn't take long and it is a lot easier than putting on hand controls, I promise.

I hope this makes sense.

Schmed66 06-14-2010 08:04 AM

Re: foot drop scared and full of questions
I developed bad foot drop this morning, I think it is due to stripping furniture yesterday being bent over for hours. I felt a huge electric shock down my legs yesterday after being bent over for hours and returning to a normal position. I do have L5 S1 bulge and spinal Stenosis, and the exact thing happened to my twin last year, he did surgery to clear it up. The kicker is that I also have MS (mild, for 20 years), and foot drop is a symptom of that too, but I usually feel these things coming on and have other symptoms when MS bothers me. I coincidentally have a appt with my MS neuro today for drug refills (he treats my back pain), and I'll see what he has to say. In a way I hope it's an MS symptom (which usually clear 100% after a couple of weeks).

dionnfr 06-24-2010 02:10 PM

Re: foot drop scared and full of questions
Had foot drop diagnosed in December 2009, mine was not due to any surgery but compression to my pereoneal nerve. It is a long process, i have been doing PT for six month, and I'm right now at about 65% fully recovered. I have been told it could take up to a year or longer, but I'm happy with the progress so far. I'm a 58 year old male. As far as the AFO I have had two so far, for me they were not comfortable and I do not where them any longer. Just do your PT and follow all instructions and do your exercises at home. Good luck.

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