What kind of doctor do you see for foot drop?

Answered by Randy McIntyre

When experiencing foot drop, it is important to seek medical attention to determine the underlying cause and receive appropriate treatment. The type of doctor you should see depends on the suspected cause of your foot drop.

1. Primary Care Physician: Your first step should be to consult with a primary care physician (PCP) who can evaluate your symptoms and medical history. They may perform a physical examination, ask about your symptoms and lifestyle, and order relevant tests. Based on their findings, they may refer you to a specialist for further evaluation and management.

2. Neurologist: Foot drop can often be caused by nerve damage or conditions affecting the nerves, such as peripheral neuropathy, nerve compression, or nerve injuries. In such cases, a neurologist specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of nervous system disorders and can provide appropriate care. They may conduct nerve conduction studies, electromyography (EMG), or imaging tests to evaluate nerve function and identify the cause of foot drop.

3. Orthopedic Surgeon: Foot drop can also result from musculoskeletal issues, including spinal disorders or injuries. If the lower back is suspected as the cause, an orthopedic surgeon or a spine specialist may be consulted. They can assess any structural abnormalities, such as herniated discs or spinal stenosis, which may be causing nerve compression and resulting in foot drop. Imaging studies like X-rays, CT scans, or MRI may be ordered to aid in the diagnosis.

4. Physiatrist: A physiatrist, also known as a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist, focuses on the non-surgical management of musculoskeletal and neurological conditions. They can evaluate the extent of functional impairment caused by foot drop and recommend appropriate rehabilitation strategies, such as physical therapy, assistive devices, or braces. They work towards improving mobility and restoring functionality.

5. Endocrinologist: Certain systemic conditions like diabetes or metabolic disorders can cause peripheral neuropathy, leading to foot drop. In such cases, an endocrinologist specializes in diagnosing and managing hormonal and metabolic disorders. They can assess your overall health, perform blood tests to evaluate glucose control or other metabolic markers, and provide appropriate treatment or refer you to other specialists if needed.

It is important to note that these are just some of the specialists who may be involved in the evaluation and management of foot drop. The exact type of doctor you should see depends on your specific symptoms, medical history, and the suspected cause of your foot drop. It is always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional to receive an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.