Foot drop is a condition we tend to minimize and ignore until it is too late, though it has an impact on our lives in myriad ways. What is foot drop? What causes foot drop to happen, whether it is in one foot or both, whether it occurs suddenly or worsens over time? And can I get compensation for it if it is the result of medical negligence? We’ll answer these questions and many more in the article below.
An Introduction to Foot Drop
Foot drop, also called drop foot, refers to when you have trouble lifting the front part of the foot. It may affect one foot or both feet at the same time.
If you’re sitting in a chair, it doesn’t matter much. If you get up to walk, it can cause an unnatural gait because you have trouble lifting the foot to walk. In some cases, you can’t lift the front of the foot to walk and end up dragging the foot on the floor instead. For some, the solution is lifting the thigh high to lift the foot, especially on stairs; this creates undue force when the foot slams down. Do this repeatedly, and you get numbness or pain in the foot in addition to the “drop”, and that’s aside from the knee and hip strain this walking style creates. You could also find it impacting other aspects of your life, such as finding it difficult to use the foot pedals in a car.
Foot drop is not a disease. Instead, it is a sign of an underlying problem. That problem may be muscular, neurological or something else.
Causes of Foot Drop
Foot drop is always caused by weakness or paralysis of muscles used to lift the foot. However, there are several potential causes of this weakness and/or paralysis. One cause of this is a brain or spinal cord disorder. A stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s or genetic conditions like ALS fall into this category. Another cause is any muscle or nerve disorder. Polio is nearly extinct as a cause of this disorder in the developed world, but muscular dystrophy and inherited conditions that cause progressive muscle weakness can cause foot drop. A more mundane cause of nerve damage is from diabetes that isn’t properly managed.
Nerve injury is the most common cause of foot drop. Nerve damage may be due to accidents or a pinched nerve. Crossing your legs a lot and prolonged sitting can pinch this nerve. However, it can be caused by medical treatment. For example, the nerves necessary to lift the foot properly are often damaged during knee or hip replacement surgery. On a more mundane note, wearing a leg cast can put pressure on the peroneal nerve, causing foot drop when the cast comes off. Conversely, foot drop may be the result of cerebral palsy itself caused by medical negligence at birth.
Can I Get Compensation for it?
If your foot drop is the result of nerve damage from joint replacement surgery, you have a medical negligence claim. These cases should be referred to medical negligence solicitors like The Medical Negligence Experts who have a number of specialists on hand to answer your questions. If foot drop is the result of a post-surgery infection that wasn’t properly treated, you have a legal case and need to speak with a solicitor.
If your foot drop is due to a degenerative medical condition like ALS or muscular dystrophy, you may or may not have a medical negligence case. You may have a case if your condition has been misdiagnosed, delaying the start of appropriate treatment and hurting your quality of life.
There was a case in particular of a man that was admitted to a healthcare facility after suffering a broken leg after falling while climbing a fence. The man had to go under surgery to have the leg pinned, which was a success. However, the doctor missed signs of a developing compartment syndrome. The man had to go under surgery again, but this time, some of his back muscle tissue had to be transferred and skin grafted as well. As a result, the man was left with a severe foot drop even if he was able to regain his mobility. He also was unable to return to work and suffered from psychiatric disorders. The man was eventually awarded £400,000 in total damages for his case.
When foot drop is due to a stroke that wasn’t diagnosed or treated properly, you may have a medical negligence case. And it is probably something that you can make a claim for. If it is caused by untreated cauda equine syndrome, you have a medical negligence case. In some cases, the foot drop is caused by insufficiently or incorrectly treated cauda equine syndrome. This is a case of medical negligence.
If your foot drop is due to nerve damage caused by your working situation, consult with a legal expert, though this is not a medical negligence case. If the nerve damage is due to an accident, you have a legal case for personal injury against those who caused the accident. If the nerve damage is due to incorrect treatment after an accident, you have a medical negligence claim. You may also consult a medical negligence solicitor and claim for negligence If the foot drop is due to negligently managed and diagnosed diabetes.
What Type of Compensation Could I Get?
If the foot drop is due to medical negligence and expected to last a long time, special damages and general damages apply. If the foot drop is treated by wearing a brace, it counts as a severe foot injury. The damages for this are worth thirty to forty five thousand pounds. If the foot drop is accompanied by pain or numbness in the foot, that is a separate type of damage in addition to the cited figure.
These figures do not include medical costs you’ve incurred to try to manage the pain or medical equipment you’ve paid for. Your compensation should include reimbursement for medical consultations you’ve sought for a proper diagnosis and physical therapy you’ve tried. If you have to have your car modified to be driven with your hands or switched to paying for others to drive you, those are compensable expenses.
Compensation may be an option if the foot drop is expected to be of short term or midterm duration. For example, you can seek compensation if the condition was treated by a tend transfer or sural nerve graft. Now you can seek compensation for these medical costs, associated lost wages and out of pocket costs, and physical therapy after the procedure. Conversely, if the treatment for foot drop didn’t work or ended up making things worse, you certainly have a medical negligence claim.
There are causes when you can sue for negligence if you suffer from foot drop. Foot drop may be the result of conditions you cannot avoid like ALS, and it may be due to medical negligence such as untreated diabetes, strokes or infections. It can also occur after back surgery and joint replacement procedures, and these, too, are cases for a medical negligence expert. So, if you feel you fit in any of these categories, you should start seeking assistance today.