Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Terminology_Footdrop or Drop Foot

Carol Paez

Here are the responses to the posting regarding “footdrop” or “drop


Thank you for all your input. Wishing a successful New Year for all!:

Preferably neither!! We should strive to utilize medical terminology

whenever the opportunity presents itself. I’ve switched to peroneal


(or “paralysis”-when appropriate)


In a nutshell, the dictionaries I have did nothing to clear it up. Ones’

definition of footdrop was almost exactly the same as the others


of drop foot.

I suggest you pick a personal favorite and go with it. Someone will


find fault no matter what you do. I personally like drop foot just

because I

think it sounds more like a condition and it doesn’t sound like a thing,

i.e., it doesn’t remind me of a gumdrop.


I think Mr. Tom Lunsford intended “excessive plantar flexion…..” in


query. This seems to be an omission or just typing mistake and Mr.


is requested not to make a fun or advertise the notorious drug.


The proper terminology is neither “drop foot” or “footdrop,” they are


metal bender names. The proper description is “paralytic equinus.” Far


pamphlets, search perineal palsy on the med-web or a library. There is

usually good info on that particular etiology. You may also want to


the Neurological Aspect of the Lower Extremities.


Try Oregon Orthotics system or OOS they have a great “text” book for

their course that Deanna Fish CPO wrote on gait pathomechanics easy to

understand. Deanna is at Hanger I believe in PA.


why not just call it a wrist orthosis/splint. I think the phrase for

dropfoot should read

“excessive plantar flexion during swing phase” not “dorsiflexion”


“Excessive dorsiflexion in swing phase” as a substitute for “dropfoot”?


I read that I thought, surely there is a better way to say it. But if


is, I can’t think of it. No wonder “dropfoot” has stuck.

But, frankly, I’d rather be stuck with “dropfoot” than with “cockup.”

If anyone can think of a good substitute phrase for “cock-up splint,”


love to put it into use. A good humored patient said, as he handed me


prescription for a “cock-up splint,” “Why didn’t he just prescribe



I think the term “paralytic equinus” is more professional. Thanks.


When conversing with patients or the laity, either “footdrop” or “drop

foot” seem to me to be acceptable. However, when speaking

professionally, I

believe the correct pathomechanical terminology is “excessive

dorsiflexion in

swing phase” and the proper gait deviation is “toe drag” or “MT head

drag” in

mid-swing. Toe drag in initial swing is usually not due to excessive


Many years ago there was a physician who called the AFO for this problem

a “polydropylene AFO.”


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