New York State Medical Treatment Guidelines for Foot Drop in workers compensation patients

The guidelines for Foot Drop have been crafted by the New York State Workers Compensation Board to support physicians, podiatrists, and other healthcare professionals in delivering suitable treatment.

These guidelines from the Workers Compensation Board are designed to be a helpful resource for healthcare professionals, aiding them in determining the right level of care for patients dealing with ankle and foot disorders.

It’s important to note that these guidelines do not replace clinical judgment or professional experience. The ultimate decision on care should be a collaborative one between the patient and their healthcare provider.


Foot Drop

The sudden onset of foot drop following damage to the same-side leg might signal compartment syndrome, especially if accompanied by lower leg pain. It’s crucial to treat such cases urgently, as there’s a risk of severe and lasting deficits if acute foot drop is not addressed promptly, making these situations urgent, if not emergencies. Therefore, instances of acute trauma followed by lower leg pain and foot drop should be thoroughly evaluated, as they could indicate compartment syndrome, a pressing surgical concern associated with foot drop.


Diagnostic Studies for Foot Drop in workers compensation patients

To identify the cause of foot drop, the most commonly used diagnostic tests include MRI of the brain, spinal cord, and/or peripheral regions, along with electrodiagnostic examinations of the peripheral nerves.

For detailed information on diagnostic imaging and testing procedures related to foot drop, it is recommended to refer to the section on Diagnostic Studies for Diagnosis of Foot Drop (see General Principles A.12 – Foot Drop).


Rehabilitation for Foot Drop

Rehabilitation, supervised through formal therapy, following a work-related injury should be focused on restoring the functional abilities necessary for the patient to meet their daily and work responsibilities, aiming to facilitate a return to work. The ultimate goal is to restore the injured worker to their pre-injury status as much as practically possible.

Active therapy involves the patient actively participating and exerting internal effort to complete specific activities or tasks. In contrast, passive therapy relies on modalities administered by a therapist without the patient actively contributing effort.

While passive therapies are often employed to complement an active therapy program and achieve functional gains simultaneously, priority should be given to active initiatives over passive interventions.

To maintain and build upon the achieved improvements, patients are encouraged to continue both active and passive therapies at home as an extension of the therapeutic process. This approach ensures sustained progress and supports the overall rehabilitation goals.

Another potential avenue for enhancing functional improvements is the incorporation of assistive technology into the treatment strategy.

Regarding the treatment of foot drop, it’s important to note that Taping is not recommended. Braces are the more conventional and recommended approach for addressing foot drop.

On the other hand, the use of Ankle-foot Orthotics is recommended for the treatment of foot drop, supported by evidence for their effectiveness.


What our office can do if you have Foot Drop due to your workers compensation injuries

We bring our expertise to assist you with your workers’ compensation injuries, fully understanding the challenges you’re facing. We are committed to addressing your medical needs and adhering to the guidelines set by the New York State Workers Compensation Board.

Recognizing the significance of your workers’ compensation cases, we’re here to guide you through the intricacies of dealing with the insurance company and your employer.

We acknowledge that this is a stressful time for you and your family. If you wish to schedule an appointment, please reach out to us. We are dedicated to making the process as seamless as possible, doing everything we can to support you.

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