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The content on this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, orthotist, therapist or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

What is the TeamUP movement?

TeamUP is a national movement that grew out of the Get Back UP Today campaign, and is dedicated to bringing awareness to living with foot drop or similar conditions, and to encouraging people with mobility impairments to Get Back Up and reclaim their quality of life.

 

 TeamUP exists for three primary reasons:

  • To help bridge a pervasive “disconnect” in the healthcare system. By providing extensive information and access to resources via direct contact and online forums, TeamUP offers hope, inspiration and access to resources that many people do not receive from their healthcare professionals.
  •  To provide a supportive online and person-to-person network, serving the often under-served community of those affected by Foot Drop paralysis.
  •  To bring to the forefront a condition that is otherwise rarely discussed in media or public forums.

The TeamUP movement is currently led by 15 Co-Captains who have undergone training in Public Relations Outreach and serve as volunteer ambassadors for sharing the TeamUP message. Each Co-Captain has Foot Drop or Dystonia in one or both legs, all from varying causes or conditions, and all have found a way to rebuild their quality of life while wearing Allard AFOs.

What is the Get Back UP Today campaign?

The Get Back UP Today campaign began as “one-woman’s-media-blitz” while running marathons all across the country. Beth Deloria spent 2 years trying to find a way to run again after spinal trauma led to permanent Foot Drop, only to later learn that the technology that restored her quality of life had been available to her the entire time. She and the leadership at Allard USA assumed that there were others out there who, like her, had been struggling with sub-par orthotic technology and may be looking for a better option; they came up with this idea to find out if their assumptions were accurate.

Their instincts quickly proved correct: after seeing/reading Beth Deloria’s story people began reaching out from all over the US with experiences similar to hers, each wanting to know how to get a life-changing brace. One by one, these people got connected with the right resources and found their way back up. Seeing the impact of the initial Get Back UP Today campaign on so many people across the US, Beth and Allard wanted to expand the movement thinking, “If one woman could affect so many lives simply by sharing her experience, how many people could be reached if dozens of people told their Get Back UP stories?” In 2013 the TeamUP concept was created to develop a growing group of national ambassadors like Beth to reach more people than one person could ever hope to achieve.

How can I join TeamUP?

Anyone can join TeamUP! Just click any of the orange “Join TeamUP” buttons you see on this website and sign up for free. We strongly encourage everyone to join—whether you are someone living with foot drop, caring for someone with foot drop or someone who simply wants to help us spread awareness and inspire others!

What is Foot Drop?

Foot Drop is defined as the inability to raise the front part of the foot or ankle due to weakness or paralysis of the muscles that lift the foot. It can affect both feet, or it can be isolated to one specific foot, often depending on the underlying condition that caused Foot Drop.

Because people with Foot Drop aren’t able to lift their foot fully, they may scuff their toes along the ground or lift their knees up high to avoid scuffing, stumbling or dragging the toes while walking. This extra effort can often result in tripping or falling—a reality that can lead to the patient simply thinking they are clumsy or careless, or worse, lead to more severe injuries to the patient from the fall.

Other indications of Foot Drop include a “slapping” of the foot with each step; an inability to point the toes upward or move the ankle from side to side; and pain, weakness or numbness in the foot or toes.

Getting diagnosed with a condition such as Multiple Sclerosis or Charcot Marie Tooth is a life-changing moment in countless ways. But many patients accept the onset of a commonly associated symptom known as “Foot Drop” as a part of their newfound life, rarely learning that the condition even has a name. In fact, according to a 2016 survey by ORC International, only 17% of people knew what Foot Drop was. Why does this little-known condition create so much difficulty yet garner so little awareness? Let’s dig into the debilitating phenomenon known as Foot Drop.

What causes Foot Drop?

These are just some of the causes of Foot Drop, but they all involve nerves in the body.

  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Peripheral nerve disorders
  • Charcot Marie Tooth
  • Stroke
  • Spinal Cord injuries
  • Hip/Leg/Knee injuries
  • Neurodegenerative disorders of the brain
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
  • Spinal muscular atrophy
  • Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS)
  • Complications from surgeries/childbirth

Anyone can develop it, but Foot Drop itself is not a disease. Rather, it is a symptom of what can be a temporary or permanent problem—typically one of the neurological disorders or injuries mentioned above. For those with a neurological disorder, Foot Drop has a higher chance of being a lifelong symptom. If Foot Drop were developed from an accident, it could be temporary, but that isn’t guaranteed.

 

How does Foot Drop affect people who have it?

The effects of this condition become apparent as people try to resume their everyday lives. Foot Drop makes it difficult (if not impossible) for individuals to walk properly or participate in activities that require significant physical movement (manual labor, sports, etc). The inability to properly lift the foot can even make it hard to do the simplest of tasks, like getting dressed in the morning and putting on shoes. For some, it means spending some time in a wheelchair or using crutches.

How can Foot Drop be treated?

Treatment is dependent on what caused Foot Drop in the first place and your current medical condition. For temporary cases, there are exercises that an individual can do to help regain control over their foot. These exercises include foot movements like foot circles and rolling up onto the toes. Individuals with Foot Drop can always consult with a physiotherapist to brainstorm exercises that work best with their own level of impairment.

There are other, less common forms of treatment like electrical stimulation that sends an electrical impulse to the nerves of the foot while walking. For more permanent cases of Foot Drop, some find success with surgery.

However, the most common treatment for Foot Drop is an ankle-foot orthosis (AFO). An AFO is a brace that slips into the shoe and stabilizes the foot and ankle to regulate the process of taking a step. Due to the various causes of Foot Drop and the diverse group of people who can develop it, there are multiple types of braces that are made for different levels of support.

With the right brace, someone living with Foot Drop can return to a life almost identical to the one prior to their diagnosis. Some TeamUP co-captains even cultivated a more active, more athletic lifestyle for themselves after they found their perfect AFO.

To find the perfect brace, an individual with Foot Drop should see an orthotist to have one ordered and adjusted to fit. Each foot (and the person its attached to) is different, so it’s important to understand that this process can require patience and determination.

Facing a life impeded by Foot Drop might seem like a hopeless effort. But there are many Foot Drop-ers living their lives on their own terms, showing that it’s always possible to Get Back Up Today!

Allard USA offers multiple braces for Foot Drop patients, all dependent on how severe the case is: the Ypsilon® foot drop orthosis provides mild stability, the ToeOFF® foot drop orthoses provide moderate stability, and the BlueROCKER® foot drop orthoses provide maximum stability.

Learn more about Allard AFO braces here.

Why do so few people know about Foot Drop?

This is a complicated subject. For most people with Foot Drop, this form of paralysis is simply a symptom of a more serious condition or injury. As such, patients get treatment by specialists where the focus in each case is the “primary diagnosis.” Foot Drop is often seen as a mere side-effect of the primary diagnosis, and thus it does not garner significant attention on its own. Additionally, the “primary specialists” are often not as experienced in recognizing nor prescribing treatment for Foot Drop, which can lead to lack of diagnosis, a failure to provide knowledge of all the current advancements in the treatment of foot drop and an underreporting of the occurrence of foot drop throughout the world.

Did you know that many people with Foot Drop were not aware that their “condition” had a name? Sadly, many people in the early stages of Foot Drop (or those with mild to moderate Foot Drop) think themselves to be “simply clumsy or uncoordinated”!

According to a recent independent survey by ORC International, only 17% of people knew what Foot Drop was and only 1% of all people in the US living with Foot Drop Paralysis (or “drop foot”) are utilizing brace technology that can drastically improve their lives.

How many people have Foot Drop?

Great question! It is difficult to tell because most people are not “diagnosed” with Foot Drop, rather it is a symptom of a more serious “primary diagnosis.” When you begin to tally the numbers of people with conditions that cause Foot Drop (Stroke, MS, CMTA, Muscular Dystrophy, Cerebral Palsy, Spinal Cord injury, complications from Cancer and Diabetes, etc.) we suspect the number is in the millions worldwide.

What is an AFO?

An AFO is a brace that slips into the shoe and stabilizes the foot and ankle to regulate the process of taking a step. Due to the various causes of Foot Drop and the diverse group of people who can develop it, there are multiple types of braces that are made for different levels of support.

There are three general categories of AFOs, differing in the materials from which they are made and in the levels of Range of Motion (ROM) they allow at the foot and ankle. They range from static styles that will allow for little or zero range of motion to those that are dynamic and can be positioned to allow several different ranges of motion. There are also dynamic response devices that will allow additional energy return and better rollover of the toes when walking or running. Of course, the amount of allowed motion will be determined by the overall diagnosis and goals of each individual.

With the right brace, someone living with Foot Drop can often return to a life almost identical to the one prior to their diagnosis. Some TeamUP co-captains even cultivated a more active, more athletic lifestyle for themselves after they found their perfect AFO.

To find the perfect brace, an individual with Foot Drop should see an orthotist to have one ordered and adjusted to fit. Each foot (and the person its attached to) is different, so it’s important to understand that this process can require patience and determination.

Allard USA offers several dynamic response braces for Foot Drop patients, all dependent on how severe their case is: the Ypsilon FLOW® ½ provides mild stability, the ToeOFF® 2.0 and ToeOFF FLOW® 2 ½ provide moderate stability and the BlueROCKER®, BlueROCKER® 2.0 provide maximum stability.

Facing a life impeded by Foot Drop might seem like a hopeless effort. But there are many Foot Drop-ers living their lives on their own terms, showing that it’s always possible to Get Back UP Today!

How do I know if an AFO is right for me?

The best person to refer to on this question is either your primary care physician or orthotist, and a prescription from a physician is necessary to obtain a brace. No one can evaluate whether AFOs are right for you over the phone or via Email. If you need help finding an orthotist in your area, please contact Allard USA’s customer service team:

Allard’s Customer Service Specialists are available Mon. – Fri. 8:30AM-6PM Eastern via phone at (888) 678-6548 or email at info@allardusa.com.

Didn’t See Your Question?

Please contact us at info@getbackuptoday.com and we will do our best to find answers for you. Also remember to visit our blog regularly, as we will be adding posts with more in-depth answers to our most frequently asked questions. If you have more questions about Allard AFOs specifically, please visit our Allard Braces page. 

The content on this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, orthotist, therapist or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.