Foot drop palsy is a symptom of peroneal and sciatic nerve injury. It shows up in some babies as a weakness in their ankles and an inability to flex their foot or ankle, according to MedlinePlus.
Your newborn’s sciatic nerve is the longest and widest nerve in their body. The nerve is responsible for most of the functions in the lower half of your baby’s body and has two major components–the tibial nerve and the peroneal nerve.
Your newborn’s peroneal nerve is usually more severely affected because of its positioning and the amount of supporting connective tissue surrounding it. Newborns and children can be susceptible to nerve injuries because of their lack of muscular and fatty tissue. That makes them more prone to birth injuries that cause nerve compression and trauma.
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The Effects of Foot Drop Palsy as a Newborn Grows and Develops
As a newborn, your child might have a foot that appears droopy, or he might favor his healthy foot over his afflicted ones. In some newborns, both feet might be affected by foot drop palsy.
In many cases, the prognosis for an infant with foot drop palsy is good. Many babies will experience a full recovery with the right blend of medical treatments and interventions. Successfully treating the initial cause of foot drop palsy may help to completely relieve the dysfunction. Improvements can take several months to become noticeable. If foot drop palsy in your infant is caused by severe stretching of, or damage to, their nerves, they may never fully recover and will be left with a permanent disability.
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Other Effects From Foot Drop Palsy
Of all the ways foot drop palsy affects a newborn, your child’s comfort is likely to be high on your list of priorities. After any birth injury, your son or daughter may experience some pain or discomfort. In less severe cases of birth injuries and foot drop palsy, your child’s discomfort or pain can be managed with over-the-counter pain medication. Some children might be given prescription pain medication to control their levels of pain and to maintain their physical comfort.
Some cases of nerve damage due to a birth injury might respond well to physical therapy. Physical therapy can help soothe aches and pains and help maintain your child’s muscle strength. Your child’s comfort is important to you and his medical team. If you notice signs that lead you to believe your child is in pain, alert a member of his medical team immediately and request a pain assessment.
Treatments for Foot Drop Palsy
As your new baby grows and develops, doctors may make specific recommendations to help them walk with a steady gait. According to Mayo Clinic, your child’s pediatrician or physical therapist might suggest one or more of the following assistive applications or devices for your son or daughter:
- Shoe inserts
- Orthotic devices
- Physical therapy
- Stretching exercises
- Occupational therapy
- Range of motion exercises
Your doctor may have other suggestions for medical treatments that will offer greater improvements for your child. Speak to your pediatrician about the full scope of available services to help ensure an optimal prognosis for your child’s future.
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Surgical Options for Foot Drop Palsy
As your child grows and develops, his medical team might suggest one of several surgeries to help treat foot drop palsy, its symptoms, or its underlying cause. Those surgical procedures might include:
- Relieving the pressure on their nerves
- Fusing your child’s foot bones and ankle bones
- Moving good, working tendons and attaching them to the afflicted limb
If your child’s medical team believes a surgical correction is their best treatment option for a favorable prognosis, they will review each type of surgery with you. They will also explain each procedure and its accompanying risks in detail.
An Attorney Can Help You File a Successful Birth Injury Claim
An unexpected diagnosis can leave you frustrated. Discovering the varied ways foot drop palsy affects your newborn can leave you with a slew of unanswered questions about your child’s current condition and their future. Trying to understand your legal options can leave you overwhelmed and unsure.
Do not let frustration or medical and legal jargon overwhelm you. You and your infant deserve to have an advocate on your side. Reach out to the legal team at the Birth Injury Lawyers Group. Call (800) 222-9529 to speak to a birth injury attorney near you today.