National Foot Drop Awareness Day: An Overview of Bracing Options for Managing Foot Drop

National Foot Drop Awareness Day takes place annually in September. To help raise awareness of Foot Drop, we created a brief overview video on bracing options for managing Foot Drop featuring Union O & P BOC-Certified Orthotist, Ben Yockey.

What is Foot Drop?
Foot drop is a muscular weakness or paralysis which makes it difficult to lift the front part of your foot and toes. This can cause you to drag your foot on the ground making it difficult to walk. Foot drop is a sign of an underlying problem rather than a condition itself. It can be muscular, caused by nerve damage in the leg, or the result of a brain or spinal injury or a neurological condition such as Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson's. Foot drop usually only affects one foot, but both feet can be affected depending on the cause. Foot Drop can be temporary or permanent.  For a deeper dive into understanding Foot Drop visit More about Foot Drop — National Foot Drop Awareness.

Managing Foot Drop with an Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO)
Wearing an ankle-foot orthosis (AFO) to hold your foot in a normal position is key.  An AFO can help stabilize your foot and improve your walking ability.

There are two main types of AFOs - Custom Fabricated Thermoplastic and Off-the-shelf Carbon Fiber, both AFOs are very effective in providing stability and balance for ambulation. A third option is the new G4 functional electrical stimulation or FES cuff which uses electrical impulses to stimulate and activate the foot.

Union Orthotics & Prosthetics Co. Orthotist, Ben Yockey prefers the carbon fiber version due to its lightweight and low-profile design, which makes it easier for people to ambulate with much less weight and can be better customized into a wider variety of shoes.

Other measures to help manage Foot Drop include:

  • Physiotherapy – to strengthen your foot, ankle and lower leg muscles.
  • Electrical nerve stimulation – in certain cases it can help lift the foot.
  • Surgery – an operation to fuse the ankle or foot bones may be possible in severe or long-term cases.
  • Home maintenance – making small changes in your home, such as removing clutter and using non-slip rugs and mats, can help prevent falls.

Let's raise some more awareness of Foot Drop! For more information visit

To learn more about ankle-foot orthotics, please visit Orthotics | Union Orthotics and Prosthetics

About Union O & P

Union Orthotics & Prosthetics Co. is a family-owned and operated company with over 100 years of service in Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania. We have always been dedicated to providing the highest quality of patient care with a professional and compassionate approach. Our services and techniques are continuously being upgraded to achieve the highest standard of excellence. Union O & P is proud to provide patients with resources to stay active and connected with the community.


Union Orthotics & Prosthetics Co. and De La Torre Orthotics & Prosthetics Co. now offer 19 locations throughout Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania. Services may vary by location.

* Image / Source: National Foot Drop Society