Foot fall occurs when the muscles and tendons the flex the foot up are no longer working. Commonly, that is the result of a nerve injury, stroke, or nerve disease (neuropathy). It likewise can happen after an injury to a muscle or tendon. If a human is can not to flex the foot up when walking, the foot or toes deserve to drag top top the ground. This have the right to make walking an overwhelming and command to regular falls.

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The goal of a foot autumn procedure is to improve a patient"s capability to proactively flex the foot and ankle up in cases where this function is weak or shed completely.


When the muscles the flex the foot up room not working, yet other muscles approximately the foot and ankle still function, tendon transfer surgery can be helpful.If there is no muscle role at the ankle, this procedure cannot be performed. A patient must have some functioning muscles because that a tendon move procedure to it is in successful.


A patient v foot drop. The patient is unable to flex your foot up, causing their foot and also toes to drag on the ground.


Usually, early stage treatment entails use of an off-the-shelf or practice brace called an AFO (ankle foot orthosis), which help to improve the place of the foot if a human being is walking. Once this brace is no longer helpful, surgery can be considered. You should discuss your choices with your foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon prior to proceeding v surgery.

The surgical procedure because that a foot autumn is called a tendon transfer. In general, a tendon carry is a procedure in which a tendon (and attached muscle) that is still functioning is taken indigenous one part of the foot and also moved to another part of the foot to shot to replace the missing muscle function. The most typical tendon moved is the posterior tibial tendon.

Specific Technique

A posterior tibial tendon move procedure can involve the posterior tibial tendon alone or transfer v two various other tendons, the peroneus longus and also the anterior tibialis. Once all three tendons are used it is dubbed a Bridle procedure.

Multiple incisions are required to relocate the tendon native one position to another. The posterior tibial tendon is taken off its insertion on the navicular bone ~ above the inner side of the foot. This is the first incision. A 2nd incision is made above the ankle and the tendon and also muscle space identified. The tendon is pulled into this second incision and also then moved in in between the tibia and also fibula bones come the front of the ankle.

Another scratch is do on the peak of the foot in ~ the bone to which the tendon is walk to be transferred. The tendon is routed under the skin come this bone and fixed into a tunnel in the bone.


The typical location of incisions ~ above the inner next of the foot and ankle.

If a Bridle procedure is performed, a second tendon, the peroneus longus, is cut above the level of the fish eye on the outer side that the leg. This tendon is climate routed come the front of the ankle and also the totally free end is attached come the posterior tibial tendon and the anterior tibial tendon in a bridle configuration. With this build the posterior tibial muscle pulls on all 3 tendons to traction the foot up. The posterior tibial tendon is routed to the height of the foot as described above.

Occasionally, the ankle have the right to be very stiff indigenous long-standing weakness. If it is not possible to pull the fish eye up because that attachment of the tendon transfer, the Achilles tendon is lengthened to aid bring the foot and ankle up. This is done either through an scratch on the calf or one incision appropriate over the Achilles tendon. The location of the scratch is based on which section of the Achilles is too tight.


The fish eye is put in a rail in the operation room to organize the place of the foot and ankle and also protect the newly transferred tendon(s). Strict elevation and non-weightbearing are enforced over the first 10 to 14 days. Stitches are eliminated in about two weeks, after i beg your pardon the foot will certainly be in a cast for around six weeks. The patient generally is non-weightbearing during this time.

Once the actors is removed, the patient will certainly be permitted to walk in a distinct boot. Physical therapy to retrain the tendon(s) in its brand-new position proceeds for 8-12 weeks. A night splint is worn for 3 months after surgical treatment to stop premature stretching of the tendon transfer.

As swelling improves a custom-molded brace have the right to be worn in an athletic shoe and the walker boot is discontinued. As soon as the patient’s strength and motion are improved with physics therapy, the brace may be discontinued. The goal of the surgical treatment is for the patient to to walk in a constant shoe without the need for a brace.

Risks and Complications

Potential symptom of this treatment can encompass wound infection, deep infection that have the right to compromise the tendon transfer, and also failure that the tendon or tearing that the repair.


Will I have actually "normal" ankle movement after this procedure?A foot autumn procedure alters the function of the fish eye and enables a patience to walk there is no a brace. However, that is not possible to restore normal strength and full variety of motion with this procedure.

Will I have the ability to pull up mine toes?Often a nerve injury that reasons a foot drop likewise limits the capability to pull up the toes. The tendon carry will not regain this function. If this is a concern, make sure that you mention it to your doctor.

Will I have the ability to walk without a brace?The function of the procedure is to shot to improve role of the fish eye so that a patient deserve to walk without a brace. However, with severe nerve injury the is no always feasible to guarantee that a patient will certainly be brace-free every the time.

Can foot drop surgical treatment be carry out if I have no working muscles at all?The foot fall tendon carry surgery just works if few of the muscles approximately the ankle room still working.

Is over there a "best time" to have the procedure after a foot fall occurs? Is sooner much better than later?Nerve injuries have the right to improve really slowly over time. In ~ the early stage time that injury, that is possible that end months come a year, the foot drop will certainly actually improve and also strength will certainly return. By around one year, if no function has returned, a foot fall procedure is reasonable to consider.

For a long-standing foot autumn (that is, the injury happened countless years ago) a foot autumn procedure have the right to still work if the other muscles approximately the ankle room still working. For this reason no matter exactly how long back it happened, it is reasonable to seek the opinion the a foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon to see if you space a candidate for this procedure.

Will I need physical therapy?It is useful to have actually formal physical therapy to help retrain the muscle because that its brand-new function. Therapy continues until development is make in both strength and also motion and you space able to transition out the the boots or brace.

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Original short article by Sandra Klein, MDContributors/Reviewers: Patrick Maloney, MD; Selene Parekh, MD

The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle society (AOFAS) offers information on this site as an education service. The contents of, including text, images, and graphics, is for informational purposes only. The contents is no intended to instead of for professional medical advice, diagnoses or treatments. If friend need clinical advice, usage the "Find a Surgeon" search to find a foot and ankle orthopaedic operated doctor in your area.