drop foot

Julia
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Joined: 30 Apr 2019, 6:37pm

drop foot

Postby Julia » 30 Apr 2019, 6:47pm

Hello all! I have just joined this forum and would appreciate any advice anyone can give. After a recent back injury I now have drop foot. This means that my right foot has limited mobility due to nerve damage (not sure if it is permanent or not yet). So it has limited flexion and parts of the foot (and the right hand side of my right leg) are numb. I have finally plucked up the courage to have a ride around my local park. The riding it fine. The getting off is okay. The problem is with pushing down with the right foot in order to get started. I can do it. But I don't feel safe enough to ride on roads at the moment. And there is a lack of strength there.
Does anyone know of any specific exercises I can do at home to help me with this movement? I really miss going out on the bike. I have never learned to drive and my bike has always been my mode of transport to work etc. So this is very frustrating. I am currently wearing a foot brace.
All answers appreciated.

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NATURAL ANKLING
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Location: English Riviera

Re: drop foot

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 30 Apr 2019, 8:50pm

Hi,
I would recommend seeing your GP then refer to a NHS physiotherapist.
I have constant back problems, also poor circulation in my right foot.
If I don't do constant exercises for my back I don't normally last longer than a week before I cant sleep for the pain in my back and legs.
Diagnosis of the back and prognosis is what is needed first.
Good luck.

P.S. Once I am on song then the cycling helps with my back and legs.
My problem is a nerve/s under pressure in the lower back and hence discomfort in the legs.
If You Don't Try You Don't Do.....Don't Do You Don't Get...I'm Still Trying....Well Very..
You'll Find Me At The Top Of A Hill...............Somewhere...After Dark..

Eyebrox
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Location: Ayrshire

Re: drop foot

Postby Eyebrox » 30 Apr 2019, 9:39pm

Hi Julia. A friend of mine has something similar and has been off the bike for two years. He has ordered up a "pendulum crank" for which he has high hopes of making a return to basic cycling. I had never heard of this device though he tells me there are three different manufacturers and the reviews are giving cause for confidence. Perhaps you could have a look online. Hope you find a quick solution.

cotswolds
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Joined: 16 Jan 2010, 10:47am

Re: drop foot

Postby cotswolds » 1 May 2019, 3:25pm

The short answer is definitely see a physio. In many parts of the country you can self-refer to NHS physio, seeing a GP first adds little or no value. A physio will be able to examine you and suggest any exercises that might be helpful.

Longer answer is I'm a bit confused by your description of symptoms, particularly limited mobility. Drop foot is just a nerve thing and shouldn't affect mobility of a joint. If stiffness or pain stop your foot moving through the normal range, there's something else going on. If you just mean you can't move your foot normally with your own muscles, but somebody else can manipulate it through the normal range, that's less surprising.

The lack of strength is likely due to the nerve damage meaning that the message from the brain for the muscle to activate doesn't reach the muscle, so nothing happens. If no signal at all gets through there's not much you can do. But the person to discuss all this with is definitely a physio, they'll tell you what's worthwhile.

Couple of other thoughts. If you say pressing down with your right foot to get started is the main problem, could you start with your left foot? And do you use or have you thought about using one of the ways of holding your feet to the pedals? Toe-straps or the pedal clips called clipless? Knowing your foot was locked to the pedal might make you feel more confident.

Hope the nerve damage isn't permanent and things get back to normal.

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531colin
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Re: drop foot

Postby 531colin » 1 May 2019, 5:58pm

Most experienced cyclists ride with the ball of the foot on the pedal. This means that you need good muscular control to stabilise the foot on the pedal, and it seems to me that you may have lost this control (hopefully temporary!)
I think it would be worth trying (round the park) pedalling with your instep (both feet) on the pedals; this means your foot is relatively stable on the pedal without too much muscular input. You may need to lower the saddle to compensate. Hopefully, this will all be temporary.
I think (for me!) that would be easier than changing which foot I set off with, after a lifetime of doing it one particular way!
Hannah Dines is a Paralympian cyclist and the subject of this thread https://forum.cyclinguk.org/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=128961&p=1338588; I believe she cycles with a prosthesis to support her ankle.

Julia
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Joined: 30 Apr 2019, 6:37pm

Re: drop foot

Postby Julia » 1 May 2019, 6:30pm

Thank you for your comments. I am seeing physio but they haven't recommended any particular exercises to strengthen the muscles in my leg, so I am looking online and working on my own ideas. I am waiting for a CT scan (I have had an MRI scan already) to get more information about the back problem that caused the trapped nerve (sciatica) and which has in turn caused my foot to be partly unworkable. It is missing something called 'dorsiflexion' which is the movement of the foot to an upright position. The foot brace helps me to walk but leg is def weaker on cycling with the push down starting motion.

LollyKat
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Re: drop foot

Postby LollyKat » 2 May 2019, 10:55am

Maybe try this?

Stand astride the bike, off the saddle. Put your right foot on the pedal in the down position, then let it take your weight and scoot a couple of times with your left foot until you get enough speed to be able to balance, hop onto the saddle and ride off. A plastic half clip like this on the right-hand pedal will keep your foot secure, and you may be able to pull up on it to help bring the pedals round as you get going.

It sounds awkward but works quite well in practice - I (and no doubt others) sometimes have to do this in stop-start traffic.

Sloth
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Joined: 26 May 2019, 10:14am

Re: drop foot

Postby Sloth » 26 May 2019, 11:17am

How long since your injury Julia? I suffered a slipped disc years ago and although not having drop foot i still have other neuro related probs.Numb patch on quad,burning tingling in legs.You may regain strength,it took me over a year to get strength back in my left leg.Try seeing someone in sports therapy about it.Good luck and hopefully you will regain strength.

cyclop
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Joined: 3 Oct 2013, 7:49am

Re: drop foot

Postby cyclop » 13 Jun 2019, 9:09am

Hi Julia.Firstly,I know what you,re going through having had a bulging disc last oct. and thinking my active life,as I knew it was over.Femoral nerve compression resulted in weak quads and numb inner lower leg.From using a walker then walking poles,then short rides in the woods,then walking up short hills, to longer rides and eventually back to longer, hilly rides,50 to 70mls,I feel lucky to have made a good recovery.It,s actually less luck than determination to be as active as possible.The nhs has been dissapointing on this occasion,no advice,no physio,it,s up to you.What has worked for me has been the following:
Walking ,walking up a hill over and over,walking up steps.Cycling in the woods ,then building up confidence for the road.Loads of info ,forums,exercises etc on the net.Lastly,a particular exercise I,ve found v.beneficial is;legs 18" apart,bend forward head up,back as straight as possible,arms out in front.Maintain position for 15secs then stand up,repeat 2or 3 times.My back is now much stronger,I can maintain for 60secs holding a large book,posture is better,core is stronger.Also use the"plank" exercise,again core building.Hope your recovery is as good as mine.

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bigjim
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Re: drop foot

Postby bigjim » 13 Jun 2019, 2:21pm

The peoblem with one leg being weaker than the other is that exercise like cycling, walking etc means that the good leg takes up the slack and the weaker leg is much slower to improve. We don't know we are doing this as it's an unconscious thing unless somebody else points out that you are actually limping [if walking]. If you can find some cheap gym member ship it will give you access to machines that will let you "load" that weak leg and build up those muscles. It's what I had to do after a knee problem. I think maybe the confidence thing needs looking at. If you have any strength in that leg you should be able to push off enough to enable you to bring the other leg into play. Maybe more time practicing starting off in the local park? I wish you luck with your recovery. By the way, in my youth we used to set off by using the left leg and swinging the right over the saddle. Bit dodgy in traffic though. :)
Nothing left to prove.

9494arnold
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Re: drop foot

Postby 9494arnold » 13 Jun 2019, 3:46pm

Might be worth trying a cleat on the "weak" foot to keep it where you want it, and push off with the "strong" foot.
Shimano do a pedal that is cleated one side and plain the other. Others may as well?
But I'd agree , physio first and perhaps a static bike to rebuild your technique with out the worry of falling off?
Plus what Big Jim said. I have taken adults from being complete non cyclists in the Local Park. Look out for the Ducks and Good Luck ! :)
I used to ride the Track and one of the instructors had had his leg amputated below the knee, he rode fixed with a swinging crank.
(Fixed would pull the weak leg along but it's a bit of a culture shock riding fixed if you haven't done it before and it might just compound the problem)

LollyKat
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Joined: 28 May 2011, 11:25pm
Location: Scotland

Re: drop foot

Postby LollyKat » 15 Jun 2019, 11:15am

Julia hasn't been back since 1 May so maybe she has found a solution....