foot drop after total hip replacement : LUSENET : About Joints : One Thread

Hi All, I had THR on my right hip 7/13/2004. I am a 32 yr old female, had been in pain for yrs and been limping, got really bad last yr so I decided to fix it. The Dr agreed that THR was my only option. I have a ceramic on metal uncemented prosthesis. The surgeon made a 9.5 inch incision on my side ( this is a posterior entry approach surgery). they lengthened my leg by 2 cm during the surgery, that is good because now both my legs are the same lenght. Anyway the surgery went on for 5 hrs instead of the 2 I was told, and in the process they "stretched" my muscles to implant the new hip and in the process apparently stretched my common peroneal nerve, leaving me with foot-drop. I cannot flex my right foot. this means that when I will not need my cane any more I will fall when I walk unless I wear a horribly uncomfortable thing known as an AFO.

I'd like to know if anyone else has had this happen to them and if it got better eventually ? I keep getting the usual "nerves grow at the rate of 1 mm /day" but it is now 7 weeks so in doing the math: 20 days should have done it... it is now 53 days. Is there something I am not being told ? I am also since the last 2 weeks in severe pain ( more like hypersensitive solar flares) on the top of my foot and my big toe. My ankle does not rotate, and hurts a lot. I am on Neurontin, but it doesnt seem to be working as yet. I cannot sleep comfortably. Please help ! I am very depressed about the foot and now think maybe I should have stayed with the painful hip insted. thanks for your replies, HD

-- HD (, September 02, 2004


I had a THR in Dec. 1999 and also suffered foot drop as a result. Don't take me wrong, but they do say the nerve does return - mine has unfortunately not returned. I have lived 5 years come this December with an AFO and no feeling or use of my foot.

Be very persistent is getting your EMGs to see if there is any improvement in the nerve. If not contact a neurologist and have them look into decompression surgery or nerve transplant. I waited to long and now have to live with this "dead foot".

Be very persistent and have other options like the neurologist. Look at an article on the web that I just finished reading by a Dr. Nath on nerve transplant.

Remember, be very very persistent with you orthopod. Don't let him say we'll just wait, it takes time - that was my big big mistake. Get other opinion and seek help and be persistent.

Good luck.


-- Alice Kane-Hack (, September 18, 2004.

Hi Alice Wow!!! 5 years for you, that's awful that you can't get anything done to help you. It has been 11 months for me, I am trying my 5th brace now. It's kinda of new but you might like it, Its called a toe Off,,,made in Sweden by a company called Camp. If you go to their website its They will send you a cd and info. You will be able to stand longer and walk further . I am still in so much pain and am wondering if you are too. I have never been to a neurologist but think I should, I am just seeing a pain managment specialist and doesn't offer much hope for me, I have not had an emg but can feel shocking waves to my toes when tapping on the side of my leg,even though the skin is numb,sorry to ramble on, thank you for posting and hope you had a nice week end

-- Diane from Seattle (, September 19, 2004.

Hi HD, I had THR surgery on December 7 which took 1 1/2 hours. I was told it was an easy surgery, no problem, easy to see clearly. I too have foot drop. I will have my post op tomorrow. My surgeon had suggested I wait 3 months to have a EMG. After reading these postings, I am certainly going to question him about that timing. If you find out any information that will help us, please let me know. Best of luck to you. Liz

-- E K (, December 20, 2004.

Hi, I had a THR in Jan.2004 and ended up with foot drop too. I have seen 2 neurologist, had tons of testing done. They tell me it's a waiting game but should resolve itself but slowly. I bought a Dorsi X strap to hold my foot up, it's great.Can't stand the $700.00 AFO. Don't give up hope ( I know that's hard) The numbness and tingling seems to be moving down to my foot and hope that's a good sign. The whole situation tends to make me nuts some days. Stay hopeful and step carefully.

-- Val Peterson (, February 18, 2005.

I had hip surgery called a PAO in 2001 in which they broke my pelvis and moved it back so the ball and socket would fit together correctly agian. This solved the pain problem,but also resulted in nerve damage. I to had to wear the AFO for 3 years and got the same speil about nerves regenerating. Finally, after about two years I finally felt something in my foot and was able to move it a little bit, so I went back to the doctor and then to physical therapy where I worked on strengthing the ankle. Dont get me wrong it is not cured, but my P.T also fit me with a brace called a foot-up which has a strap around your ankle and a little plastic inlay inside your shoe attached to a stretchy band that helps to pull your foot up when you walk. It just makes life easier then wearing that huge plastic AFO. So that might be something to check into, my doctor didn't even know what this brace was, so you may want to consult a physical therapist..As for Neurontin, I took that also when I started to get feeling back soon after my surgery, the feeling being that my foot was on fire and someone stuck pins and needles into it. It worked for me, but it took a few days, maybe even a week. I just keep hoping that eventually it will get better for good. Excercise seems to have helped me to. The treadmill has been good practice for walking without the brace and keeping balance.

-- megan mckee (, March 05, 2005.

Hi fellow foot dropers....It's me again,Diane from Seattle Sorry there are so many sad stories with this awful thing, After nearly 17 months I finally have some answers to my condition. Apparently my peroneal nerve was damaged during surgery from improper padding of the bony parts of leg and lack of monitoring to the oxygon level of the nerve, All my Drs seem to think it is permanent. I still have hope but not much. At least I have a primary Dr that is giving pain management, I am sending good thoughts to you all, right through this computer screen

/\/\ ( .. ) supposed to be my kitty lol

take care all

-- Diane from Seattle (, March 09, 2005.

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