Foot drop or drop foot is a condition in which a person is unable to lift the front part of the foot. This makes a person drag their foot while walking. This may happen to both the feet at the same time and can happen at any age. It is manifested due to paralysis of foot muscles, nerve injury, brain or spinal disorders and muscle disorders, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease or diabetes. The person may have tingling sensations in their legs.
According to Ayurveda, foot drop is the result of vitiation of Vata dosha. Vata dosha is responsible for movements across joints in the body. Over time, when these joints are repeatedly used, they get swollen or due to friction from tendons rubbing each other, bone may create dryness and heat in the area, which affects the nerves and causes deterioration. This deterioration is due to accumulation of Vata in the space of joints. Thus, when the nerves become incapable to receive messages, they induce tingling and also become heavy at times leading to drop foot.
As dryness and accumulation of Vata dosha are the causes of foot drop, Ayurveda focuses on promoting moisture retention by stimulating blood circulation to nourish. This helps in healing the muscles and connective tissues. Along with this, panchakarma procedures are accompanied to eliminate toxins from the body and strengthen the affected area. Besides this, proper attention is also given to a balanced diet and exercise routine that helps in balancing doshas and restoring the damaged nerves. The line of treatment for drop foot can be summarized as-
Foot drop is caused due to paralysis, which may involve causes like-
Depending on the intensity of affected foot, it is graded from 0-5:
The line of treatment for drop foot followed in Ayurveda can be noted as bellows:
Reduction in inflammation by intake of anti-inflammatory foods like ginger, turmeric, neem, astragalus herbs, green tea and other similar foods. This helps in reduction of pain and muscular problems.
Increasing circulation by exercising and yoga: This regimen provides oxygen, warmth and nourishment that helps in regenerating the nerves. This also helps in proper circulation of blood in the body.
Moisturizing joints and muscles by application of medicinal herbs like ashwagandha, bala, shilajit, etc. Applying the paste of these herbs helps in the condition of foot drop. Along with this, ghee, aloe vera gel and cool water can be applied.
Massaging joints, muscles, tendons by applying medicated oils. As time passes, the tissues may become inflamed due to friction causing pain and limiting movements. Application and massage with herbal oil helps in lubrication of those tissues and avoiding damage due to friction. This also helps in reduction of pain and inflammation. Panchakarma procedures to eliminate toxins from the body. Toxins can compromise nerve function and increase inflammation, and panchakarma helps in elimination of those toxins and help in reduction of inflammation and pain.
Strengthening muscle tissue by application of herbal lepa. The lepa is formed from the herbs like brahmi, bhallataka and shilajit that help in nourishment of tissues and promote healing.
“The ayurvedic approach of disease looks for the root cause and not merely the symptoms. The basic principles of Ayurveda consider an individual human a specific identity and hence his treatment giving importance to the treatment of the patient rather than the treatment of the disease.”
“Since Ayurveda focuses on the root-cause of the disease, it effectively reduces the risk of severe health complications arising out of the untreated underlying cause. Patients who complete their Ayurveda treatment have a reduced risk of health complications later.”
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