Drop foot | ankle exoskeleton session

Drop foot is a symptom of an underlying condition where the peroneal nerve has been affected. Symptoms of drop foot can include a noticeable weakness when trying to move you foot up and around on your ankle. It can also have a heavy feeling. Clients coming in have reported numbness of the foot or tingling, curled toes or notice that their foot catches or drags along the ground while trying to walk. 

Causes of drop foot includes :

  • Nerve damage: common cause has been the compression of the peroneal nerve due to trauma or injury to the lower leg or knee
  • Muscular disorders: these conditions can cause a weakness of the muscles that move the foot causing foot drop. This includes muscular dystrophy, ALS, polio
  • Neurological conditions: foot drop is caused when the nerves are affected by neurological conditions. These include stroke, multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy
  • Nerve Disorders: this includes Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, Guillain-Barre syndrome, peripheral neuropathy.

What is involved in an initial consultation

 In an initial consultation our team of specialist exercise physiologists andn physiotherapists with do some baseline functional assessments. They want to understand more about your medical history, lifestyle, what caused drop foot (if known) to  be able to develop a personalised treatment plan for your physical therapy. 

What does an ankle joint exoskeleton setup look like

Sessions include getting you fitted to a device. Your exercise physiologist will attach electrodes to the muscle groups they are looking to target. In this case it is generally the tibialis anterior and the gastrocnemius muscles. These flexor and extensor muscle groups will be what your therapist will read data through the exoskeleton to personalise your therapy and drop foot rehabilitation program.

What does a session involve

The video shows the ankle joint exoskeleton providing assistance based on the signals being received by the device. The signals communicate with the device which then provides assistance to complete the movement. To strengthen the muscle and encourage neuroplasticity sessions will involve a high level of repetition. Repeated movements to provide feedback to the device and reduce the assistance over time. 

how important is continually testing

Your goals may change over time. An important part of any therapy program is that you are testing if it is working and translating into you home and community life. 

In the video below you will see a client who is doing a test to see how her drop foot has changed post session. We are looking for improvements in  control, toe clearance, strength and endurance while walking. 

how do i get started

Managing drop foot is different to how someone manages joint, muscle or tendon injuries due to the underlying nerve damage. While in some cases drop foot can resolve itself over weeks or months, in other cases the impacts can be longstanding or permanent. At RoboFit our team of exercise physiologists and physiotherapists treat clients with drop foot to help them reduce the impacts of further injury or falls risk. 

Clients begin with a suitability assessment package to go through medical history, lifestyle and 2 HAL trial sessions. From there we develop an ongoing treatment program personalised to your goals.

what funding options do i have

RoboFit clients use their NDIS (NDIA, plan and self managed), aged care, private health, or medicare chronic conditions funding. If you are unsure of your funding options and accessing your sessions call our team on 1800 560 842 to discus your personalised treatment program. 


Reach out to our team to learn more about what Exercise Physiologists do and how they can help you reach your NDIS, Aged Care or general health and wellbeing goals. 

If you are interested in studies relating to HAL ankle rehabilitation click on the link here


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