Foot Drop Injuries
Foot drop is a serious medical condition that commonly results from a nerve injury. In many cases, the injury to the nerve can result from surgical errors, medical malpractice or acute trauma, such as a work injury or car accident. Delayed diagnosis and treatment of foot drop can cause greater impairment.
An individual who suffers from foot drop may experience a number of serious, permanent and life-changing complications, including:
- Difficulty in lifting the front part of the foot.
- Problems with gait, which can make walking difficult, decrease quality of life, and limit occupational opportunities.
- Increase the risk of injury from falls and tripping, and result in ankle fusion surgery.
WHAT ARE THE COMMON CAUSES OF FOOT DROP INJURIES?
- Nerve damage – If the nerve that controls the muscles needed to lift the foot sustains any type of damage, it can result in foot drop. This can result from traumatic injuries to the nerve or loss of blood supply to the nerve.
- Nerve or muscle disorders –Muscular dystrophy, polio and other muscle and nerve disorders can cause or contribute to foot drop.
- Spinal and brain disorders – Disorders that affect the brain or the spinal cord can result in foot drop.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR FOOT DROP INJURIES?
In some cases, such as when a disorder or medical condition naturally occurs and causes foot drop, the patient has little recourse. This is simply a sad situation where the patient will need to turn to health insurance or private funds to secure the necessary treatment.
In other cases, however, the nerve damage occurs as a result of trauma to the knee or to the lower spine. For example, the anterior tibial nerve could be compressed as a result of outside force or external pressure below the side of the knee. If this type of trauma results from a slip-and-fall, workplace injury, car accident or other preventable accident, then the person or entity responsible for causing the accident may be held responsible to compensate the injured victim for the financial consequences of the injury and the loss of quality of life.
Another preventable error is the failure of health care providers to promptly and timely refer a patient with foot drop to a surgeon or neurologist. “Time is nerve function” when it comes to diagnosis and treatment of foot drop. The longer foot drop goes undiagnosed and untreated, the more severe the condition may become. A medical provider could be held liable for failing to make a timely diagnosis of foot drop.
Nerve damage that causes foot drop is also a common result of mistakes made during hip or knee replacement surgery. For example, a stitch or suture ligature could damage the perineal nerve in a way that causes foot drop. This type of mistake and other related surgical errors can be devastating to patients when they develop foot drop as a result of an error made by a doctor who was supposed to help them improve their mobility.
CONSEQUENCES OF FOOT DROP INJURIES
Foot drop can have serious consequences for patients. For example, when you walk with foot drop, you may raise your thigh unnaturally as though you were climbing stairs. This may be necessary to help your dropped foot to clear the floor. Unfortunately, this can result in your foot slapping down hard on the ground with each step you take, making walking uncomfortable or impossible.
Foot drop is not itself a disease, but is instead a symptom of an underlying problem with the nerves or muscles. Unfortunately, this means that curing foot drop is not a simple matter. In many cases, foot drop is a permanent problem that will last a lifetime.
Treatment may involve surgical intervention and/or center on managing the condition. Those suffering from foot drop, for example, may need to wear an ankle brace or a brace or splint on the foot, which can hold the foot in a normal position to make walking easier.
Physical therapy to strengthen the leg muscles may be an option to improve or cure the condition, and nerve stimulation may also help to improve foot drop. In severe cases, surgical intervention may also be required. Surgeries that could potentially be performed to improve or cure foot drop include nerve surgery, surgery to fuse ankle or foot bones, or surgery to transform a functioning tendon in the foot to a different position.
The costs of this treatment can be astronomical, and the person or entity that was responsible for causing you to develop or fail to diagnose foot drop may be responsible for paying for the financial and pain and suffering losses you endure. If you developed foot drop because of a workplace injury, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits even if your employer did nothing wrong to cause the accident.
FOOT DROP LAWSUITS
If you or a loved one sustained an injury that led to foot drop, you may have a legal right to take action against whoever was responsible for causing the injury.
In order to make a claim, you will need to prove that the doctor or other individual responsible for causing your foot drop acted in a negligent way, except in workplace injury cases in which benefits may be available even in the absence of negligence. In car accident cases, for example, you may be required to show that the driver was unreasonably careless. In medical malpractice cases, you need to show that the doctor made a surgical mistake, diagnosis error or some other mistake that no reasonably competent physician with the same background or skills should have made.
You will also need to prove that the negligence, carelessness or surgical mistake was a direct cause of foot drop.
Provided you can prove these things, you may be entitled to payment for:
- Medical bills
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering damages
- Emotional distress damages
- Loss of function or use of your foot
- Loss of enjoyment of activities such as sports, dancing, etc.
GET HELP FROM AN EXPERIENCED CLEVELAND INJURY LAWYER
Foot drop cases can be high-stakes cases because of the serious consequences of nerve damage. Those who are unable to work and who experience significant pain and complications may be entitled to large sums of money to cover all losses, but they will need to prove their case. Often, claims center on technical issues regarding where doctors went wrong, so it pays to have an attorney with experience handling these types of cases.