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Riding with foot drop

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  • Riding with foot drop

    After sitting on my foot on the couch a few nights ago, I stood up to discover almost-total foot drop.

    My background: I have an old back injury from a disagreement about a fence in 2008. (Fx L1, dislocated ribs/one side of collarbone, soft tissue damage/ongoing muscle spasms.) My chiropractor commented several times circa 2011 that my L5 looked "out of whack" but I didn't receive a diagnosis.

    After discovering my floppy foot, I spoke to a family member who is an orthopedic surgeon to see if I should see a physician. I followed his advice and went that day. They x-rayed my back, nothing new there. They gave me a round of oral steroids and an appointment with a spinal specialist in a week. Apparently, if this continues then I may get an EMG and/or MRI. It bothers me to not have a conclusive answer now, but that's managed care, yes?

    I am having no new pain, but marked numbness and some tingling.

    Has anyone ridden with foot drop? Do you have any advice? I cannot move my toe(s) up at all... so I am concerned about riding with stirrups and getting my "dead fish" foot stuck in the stirrup. I rode my sweetheart mare today bareback. She seemed a little confused by my right leg's cues (gave me a little more ear flick) but obliged me.

    I imagine I will be doing a lot of bareback... which is great, but I also want to keep things as normal as possible. And it feels VERY weird to not be able to put my heel down. :/

    Thanks!

  • #2
    I have not had this happen to me, although I know that I am a candidate with my spine problems.

    I don't think that you will have a problem as long as you stay in the saddle but I would be afraid of what might happen if you came off. It might be worth investing in adult size peacock stirrup irons,
    "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller

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    • #3
      If this turns out to be a long term problem, I remember seeing riders use rubber bands - the big ones you might get around the mail - wrapped a certain way to keep their feet in the right place in the stirrup. I could try to explain it if you really want! The rubber band is strong enough to hold the foot in place but weak enough to break in a fall. It might be just enough to keep your foot from sliding through.

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      • #4
        I have mild drop foot. It gets worse at times. I learned to ride using my ankles as the sink point when it is worse. Hard to explain but it can be done. I did always struggle with two point though. After 10-15 minutes my leFt foot is done and just starts collapsing at the ankle. I would ride off my inner thighs and calves more when it happened.
        "You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
        you have a right to be here." ~ Desiderata by Max Ehrmann

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        • #5
          I second peacock stirrups, as did my PT.

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          • #6
            I got it when I compound fractured my tibia. Mine is 95% better/fixed.

            I rode bareback ALOT. Horse adjusted just fine, like in one or two rides.

            I ride gaited now, and use EZ ride stirrups which has a wide foot base. You can get cages to go on them too. I wear a really, really long stirrup leather. Horse is fine with it. I found a horse who is extremely light off the leg, very sensitive (iow very responsive which means less effort on my part), and this works perfect for me.

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            • #7
              My problem included no feeling in the feet - I couldn't even "kick" really with my legs.

              I had spinal stenosis laminectomy surgery and now I can move my legs. Praise God as this really was a problem riding. I rode in Ariat riding shoes and those seemed to help. I couldn't feel my feet though and had to have assistance mounting and dismounting.
              Logging Miles with the Biscuit 530.5 Miles for 2011 visit my trail riding blog at www.dashingbigred.blogspot.com

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              • #8
                foot drop

                I have MS with a left foot drop AND bad left leg, which doesn't move either in or front to back AND a bad left hand which has difficulty gripping. I use my oldest, shortest AFO in my my paddock boot to keep my foot in the stirrup, using those very grippy eventing stirrup covers. I also send my foot more home in the stirrup, NOT on the balls of my foot. I have breakaway stirrup irons. I rarely lose my foot out of the stirrup, but if I do I almost always need help to get it back in.

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