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Foot Drop and Cauda Equina Syndrome

Foot Drop and Cauda Equina SyndromeFoot drop can sometimes be a sign of cauda equina syndrome and may warrant an emergency MRI referral.

What is foot drop?

Foot drop is a condition where the patient’s foot loses its ability to flex properly and therefore droops down in comparison to the normal foot. Due to weakness in the muscles which cause the ankle to flex, the patient cannot lift the front of the foot upwards. This can cause the foot to drag when the patient attempts to walk and can seriously inhibit mobility.

How does CES cause foot drop?

Foot drop can have a number of causes such as nerve damage during hip or knee replacement but another possible cause is cauda equina syndrome.

When a patient has, or is developing, cauda equina syndrome, the cauda equina nerve roots in the lumbar region of the spine become squashed or compressed. This may be due to a number of causes such as a herniated disc or a tumour but the impact is to cause the nerves to lose their ability to function.

The cauda equina nerves control messages between the central nervous system and the lower part of the body so if their function becomes impaired, muscles in the lower body such as the foot may not receive the impulses necessary to stimulate movement. The foot therefore remains unflexed.

How should a GP respond to foot drop?

How a GP responds to a patient who appears to be suffering with foot drop will depend on other symptoms and factors which may be considered relevant.

In the case of a patient who might be developing cauda equina syndrome, it is likely that they may be exhibiting other symptoms:

Medical negligence

Foot drop can be a sign that the patient is suffering some form of nerve damage and other symptoms which might indicate cauda equina syndrome needed to be investigated thoroughly.

A delay in assessing a patient who might be developing this appalling condition can leave the patient with a lifetime of disability.

A medical practitioner who does not investigate this possible significance of foot drop might be considered to have acted negligently and it might be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.

Speak to a solicitor

If you or a loved one are suffering the shocking symptoms of cauda equina syndrome due a failure to investigate your symptoms promptly and thoroughly, contact us today to talk to a specialist medical negligence solicitor.

Please call us free on 0800 234 3300, from a mobile click to call 01275 334030 or complete our Free Online Enquiry for a no cost, no obligation opinion.

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