Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Foot FAQ

Question:

I tore my Achilles tendon while out running. The doctor put me in a cast, which just came off last week. I'm upset because now I have a dropfoot. The doctor thinks it's temporary. Is there any way to tell if this will go away?

Answer:

Dropfoot (also called footdrop) means the patient can't bend the foot upward.

This can happen when the peroneal nerve is damaged. The damage can occur at the time of the original injury. Pinching or pressure from the cast on the nerve just below the outside edge of the knee can also cause it.

Sometimes patients don't follow the doctor's orders. They put weight on the foot when they aren't supposed to. Early weight bearing can cause rerupture of the Achilles or damage to the nearby nerve.

Temporary dropfoot can go away in as little as two weeks. The average recovery rate is two to three months. In some cases it takes much longer (up to a year or more).

The "wait-and-see" approach is used most often to answer your question. Nerve conduction tests can be done but these are painful and must be repeated to see if progress has occurred.

Richard G. H. Wallace, MCh (Orth), MD, FRCS, et al. Combined Conservative and Orthotic Management of Acute Ruptures of the Achilles Tendon. In The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. Volume 86-A. No. 6. Pp. 1198-1202.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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