Why Does My Foot Drag The Ground While Walking?

Good morning guys… Happy Friday folks! Me and Dudley coming at you with a quick little message. I wanted to go over a question that I got a couple times this week and I wanted to answer it for everyone instead of just answering it here in the clinic. The question that I got was from one of my patients, there was a client who had back pain and there was another client who had knee pain and they both said, “Why does my right foot drag the ground whenever I’m walking?”

So when they were swinging that right leg through… the toe and foot would drag the ground and the question was why? They were really unsure as to why this started happening at this moment where it hadn’t been happening in the past.

So the answer to that question… it could be a couple things. The first thing it could be is a scenario coming from the back where the nerve that comes out of the back and disks that comes out of the back, it’s hitting that nerve, let me say it that way. As that nerve goes down the leg it gives the strength to the ankle to lift, you don’t have that strength therefore the muscles doesn’t work correctly and the foot drags. So that’s one option it’s a nerve issue, it’s a weakness in the anterior tibialis muscle coming from the back. Another option can be that there’s not enough range in the ankle, that there’s not enough range to lift the ankle up into dorsiflexion and if that’s the case then you can’t swing the leg through and it will drag that way.

So we look at a couple things, is it coming from the back? Is it coming from the nerve? Is it coming from the ankle itself? One of the most common things that I see is a what’s called a leg length discrepancy and that’s where the right leg is actually a little longer than the left leg ( or vice versa) and that can come from two causes, it can be a true leg length discrepancy where one of the bones is truly longer than the others… it’s typically from a growth plate fracture as a kid or something like that. Then the other type of leg length discrepancy is called a functional leg length discrepancy and what that means is that there’s a shift in the pelvis where the pelvis is twisted forward or down and it’s not level.

That’s what I see very, very commonly is a shift in the pelvis, right leg longer and then they’re dragging that right leg… then we go in and make some adjustments to the pelvis… we loosen up the hip flexors, strengthen the core a little bit, then all of a sudden that leg, foot and toe are not dragging the ground… so it can be the back, can be ankle can be a combination of the two. It can can be the pelvis, can be a combination of all of these things… so that’s my answer to why am i dragging the leg and the foot and with a simple assessment I can figure it out pretty quickly as to what is the problem, and then how do we go about solving it…

So that’s it for today, happy Friday folks… y’all have a great day… I’ll see y’all soon, take care… bye now.

If you’re frustrated with your toe or foot dragging the ground while you are walking, then it is time to come in for our Free Discovery Session with our expert Physical Therapist…

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Stephen Dunn

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