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Foot Drop While Running?

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  • Foot Drop While Running?

    I did not previously have foot drop but I have started running, a few months ago and am noticing some disturbing things about my gait and the functioning of ankle on my right foot. From what I have been reading...I am experiencing foot drop.

    When I mentioned it to my neuro in October I had just started running, and he didn't seem concerned. But now it is really starting to bother me. I was wondering if it would be worth is to go to some PT for this issue, or not as much since it only happens when jogging/running.

    Has anyone else experienced this? The part of my foot that moves up and down with each step is what is hurting. I end up tripping, slapping my foot down, and I think it is throwing off my stride and making me hurt myself in other ways.

    I don't have this issue in every day life, like just walking around, so I feel sort of like I should just accept it.

    Any advice?

  • #2
    I experience foot drop when running

    Like you I have no issues with daily walking or other activity in life but when I run, I tend to drag my right foot. The dragging is most prevalent when I get to longer distances. It happens to the point where I wear a hole in the sole of my right running shoe. I am in the process of switching to a new pair of shoes right now because my current pair has a huge hole in it. It especially stinks when it is wet. I do not experience any pain as a result but have fallen a few times (that is painful) as a result of tripping over very small cracks in the sidewalk. I get frustrated at times but just deal with it. It sucks most because unlike a pulled hamstring or something, it will not get better. I have lesions on my spine so that is how it happened. My neurologist said you cannot do any additional damage as a result of running (not counting the falls)


    • #3
      PT's are one of the assets we, as people with MS, have at our disposal. I wouldn't hesitate to see one Marina. If you can find one who is familiar with running and it's associated problems, so much the better. I believe I might have prevented some knee joint damage from an MS gait had I seen one earlier than I did. 2 out of the 3 PT's I've ever seen have worked out exceptionally well.


      • #4
        Thanks for the feedback guys. I am seeing the neuro again at the beginning of next month, I am going to ask him for a referral.

        Seems every activity I try to do I run into some sort of road block or hurdle, so frustrating, but reading the stories here inspire me


        • #5
          Marina, running with foot drop can be challenging, but it most certainly can be done (re: Jill). What counts: you are giving it a go. We all have roadblocks. It just takes a bit more patience to figure out how to navigate them. And if the road ends up being completely blocked, screw it--take another road. My foot drop doesn't kick in until I get overheated, which happens often at the gym after heavy cardio. So I sit and wait (and hope I don't have to pee and have to drag my right leg to the bathroom). Keep us posted.
          Dave Bexfield


          • #6
            Hi Marina,
            I am a runner and have been struggling with foot drop. I have tried many things to keep me running. The first thing you want to make sure of is - no falls! That is a quick way to end running ~ hurt yourself falling
            For me a carbon fiber AFO is my best option. I love the Toe Off by Allard. Unfortunatly I keep delaminating them( breaking). I am currently working with a orthotist fom Allard to solve this problem. They have gone above and beyond in there efforts to help me.
            Keep looking till you find something that works for you. But my recommendation would be to start with Allard USA. They are a great company willing to go the extra mile for you.
            Don't give up there is extra satisfaction in being able to overcome foot drop and still run!
            Good Luck


            • #7
              Thanks for the encouragement Dave, I can't help but compare myself to others (like my husband Steve) for whom everything things to come much more easily and wish that were me!

              I really appreciate your comments Jill, I looked into the product you mentioned and it is *very* interesting. The issue with my right foot is so odd. I get pain in the "bend" between my ankle and foot but also trip and drag that foot. Sometimes the issue starts after a mile, sometimes it starts right away and goes away after 2 miles. It seems to be worse on the treadmill than outside. So, I don't know if the issues are related or separate.

              I don't really know where to start, with my neuro and going for a PT evaluation or what.

              In any case, I really appreciate you taking the time to share your experiences. I started running after some set backs in the bike, thinking that it would boost my morale a bit so I don't want to give up yet!


              • #8
                Originally posted by ActiveMSers View Post
                My foot drop doesn't kick in until I get overheated, which happens often at the gym after heavy cardio.
                Like others have said, as my cardio improves, it takes longer for me to get tired, and as a result, my foot drop doesn't kick in until later and later in the workout. So you can still build up to longer distances - it just may take you a little longer to ramp up.

                One last thing to think about - I work on strengthening the muscles in my shin. Allows you to compensate a little for the misfire into your leg. Google videos for "exercises for shin splints".


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Marinadca View Post
                  It seems to be worse on the treadmill than outside. So, I don't know if the issues are related or separate.
                  I have the EXACT same issue with treadmills. So I just run outside mostly.


                  • #10
                    Running with foot drop

                    I have it too, when I run, and like others, it mostly kicks in when I'm tired, maybe about a mile or so into my run. It never seems to fail, I always notice it around that first mile! Then I have to really start paying more attention and being very conscious of my left leg, sometimes even just telling myself to "pick it up". I'm much slower now I think, in part, to being careful of my running. I did fall last February, and I'm still paying for it. I broke my 5th didn't buckle, so I didn't have to have surgery, but it broke the complete length of the bone, right in half. Who would have thought such a small bone would cause so much trouble??

                    And I sprained my ankle, tearing some tendons. No weight on it for a month, and overall a boot for about 5 months. Because of the time off, and not proper usage of my leg, it is so much weaker than it was, and my ankle doesn't have the proper range of motion. Then when I was able to run again, everything was much worse.

                    So I took to starting over, and running on the track, until I could get something going again with my run. I did every once in a while go back on the sidewalk but I would stumble. Then hiking on Thanksgiving, I fell and sprained my ankle again --same one(no breaks this time!) and hurt my tendons again, now I have to start going to PT.

                    I've started exercising again, haven't run yet, but have been doing dvds. I'm still having the same problems, not only with my foot drop kicking in, but with my hip flexor and hamstring, in my left leg.
                    I can't run on treadmills, my balance seems off and my foot really catches. I can walk on them, though. If anyone has any helpful hints to get going again, please let me know. I need to strengthen my entire left side. So...a long reply...but the moral: be careful and don't fall!


                    • #11
                      Well I saw my neuro last night and he was not so encouraging. He told me there was nothing really to be done and suggested hightop running shoes, which I don't think they even make anymore.

                      I decided to wait until it was warmed and I could run outside to stop myself from getting frustrated and discouraged on the treadmill. I've decided to work on my cardio endurance on the elliptical instead. At least it leaves me happier instead of frustrated!

                      He also seemed to think that running a half marathon with this issue would be impossible. I guess we will see!


                      • #12
                        I noticed I have something similar with my right foot. I have found that building up the quadriceps in the right leg has helped with that issue. I try to be more mindful of form, stride length, and foot strike when I start to "shuffle". I tried a few varieties of shoes with slight variations in weight (my body tells very slight differences - thanks MS:-) and cushioning.

                        We all face challenges when running or exercising. It takes much inner strength to get out there and try. In the end that is all we can do. Try finding a running group - that is where I started. They have been a great source of inspiration and help in my running with MS journey! Good luck!


                        • #13
                          So, what I thought might be foot drop likely list not that. I had the test done with the electrodes/thin needles (emg?) and it showed no evidence of that.

                          Then I went to see the ortho, got exrays and surprise it seems to I have tendonitis on that muscle that runs along the front of my ankle to my foot.

                          So I scaled back on the intervals to build up running time more slowly. I pop 2 advil and stretch that out before running and ice afterwards. It seems to be working pretty well.

                          I guess just because you have MS does not mean everything is related to is.

                          I am thinking of working on my half, and ankle strength, hoping it will support that tendon better.

                          As a last hope I can get a cortisol shot, but I am trying not to go that way.


                          • #14
                            Lisa, docbjm, Marina, updates? I'm finally catching up and I red flagged these posts. Curious Dave wants to know. Fingers crossed all is well.
                            Dave Bexfield


                            • #15
                              Go to a PT

                              See a physical therapist that specializes in running. My foot weakness is directly related to very poor hip strength. I also have some weakness in my rt quad. My PT said that is probably an MS thing because it is backwards. The quad should be stronger than the hamstring and on my right leg it's the other way around. I also have very poor hip strength which leads to way too much stress on my foot/ankle. All that lead to some gnarly achilles tendinitis.

                              I've been working on this for 4 months and find I don't drag my foot near as much. I am much better at not tripping on things too.

                              I used to blame my MS for everything. Although I can't blame it for all of my troubles, I can blame it for complicating those troubles.