The past four months has quickly came and gone with surprise that my foot drop has not completely healed. I'm a 24 year old female, 5"4 with a petite frame, 110 pounds. Before foot drop I was heavier due to running everyday sometimes twice daily, every summer, spring, and fall since I had my son. Due to gestational diabetes, I rapidly gained 50 pounds when I was 17. I'm from Michigan and due to inability to go to a hot sweaty gym my winters are filled with anything but outside activity. Although I can do that because my job as a bartender at a local dive bar consists of busy nights running drinks and dancing around with my customers. I'm a working single young mother of a 6 year old boy. So I'm pretty active and never skip a beat, although I do skip breakfast! February 15th I woke up to my version of foot drop. It starts just below the ankle, and goes all the way to my toes. I have completely lost any mobility that my whole foot has. The hours before 5am the morning of I was getting off work and on my way home. My friend had given me a ride home that night, we took an alley and had gotten stuck in snow and ice. In our desprate need to get out of it. I spent about an hour with him kicking and pushing his car. Finally, a tow truck had pull his car out of the snow. With that being said, it was harshly cold -15 to be exact. I wasn't wearing the proper snow boots and my feet were freezing and numb. I had woken after getting home and walking up three flights of stairs just fine, to my right foot completely numb. Due to the fact that I have no insurance I visited the emergency room twice in 5 days the second time explaining my condition more clearly. The doctor preformed a test with simply 4 needles, a downward stabbing motion and my foot. He determined a solid diagnoses. So I have foot drop to my right foot. I have read about different kinds and due to the morning of me waking with absolutely no feeling in my foot. It starts just below my right ankle and it ends at the tips of my toes. I have no history at all of any injuries. No broken or fractured bones. I haven't even sprained a muscle or had a dislocation. So it's obviously trauma related. Every doctor I have went to has no idea and passes me along with another appointment. Since the incident my mobility has gotten a lot better. I can wiggle all of my toes and move my foot up and down. Although I still can't walk in heels I'm taking what I can get! Now that the dull numb feeling is gone I'm left with a tingling feeling. Kind of like walking on marbles. Before and into the first month I was taking my ADHD medication 30 mg adderal tablets. 3 times a day. With Vicodin probably 30 to 50 a
day spanned out 2 hours apart. 4 or 5 at a time. The Vicodin addiction was terrible and I happily can say I kicked it physically. Mentally I crave it everyday. I still take adderal and sometimes a flexeral or naproxen. One 100 mg if I do. At bedtime. Since I had quit the Vicodin I noticed my foot moving better everyday now that I can really feel it. My question is will it ever go away? Can it move to my other foot even though it is obviously caused by trauma? Is there any specific type of physical therapy and type of work outs that specifically targets my nerves and will also help my leg get stronger along with my foot? Is this something I can hand down to my son? What's the best timeline to get surgery ( I absolutely do not want to do). RESPONSE
The short answer to you very long question is that this problem occurred as a result of excessive exposure to cold, it is that simple. I do not see how this is something that can be spread to your son, nor at the moment do I see this as a surgical situation, and I certainly do not see how this is going to move to your other foot.
You were outside in minus 15 degree weather, probably putting excessive pressure on your foot in an effort to help move the car. Evidently, you did damage to your circulatory system or to the nerves that run down in your foot, leaving you with the inability to raise your foot upwards and a host of abnormal sensations in the affected foot.
According to you things are improving and I would guess that over time you should see further improvement. Will you ever be 100 percent? That is impossible for me to answer.
What I am surprised at is that no one offered you physical therapy as from someone on the outside looking in, I would have thought physical therapy may have gone a long way to improve you situation quickly and leave you with less residual issues.
It may have been because you have no insurance that therapy was not offered, I have no way of knowing what the reason is and although physical therapy is best performed as early as possible, it is probably not too late to start.
If cost is an issue, one suggestion I have is to schedule one appointment with a physical therapist for evaluation and then ask he or she what exercises and treatments you can do on your own at home. That would seem the best course of advice I can offer without the luxury of being able to examine you.
I am curious if your affected foot is a different color than your good foot, both when they are elevated and then again when you are standing. If they are, then that would be an indication of potential circulatory issues and that should be addressed by a vascular specialist. Other than that I think some physical therapy should be very helpful.
Marc Mitnick DPMDISCLAIMER