When diagnosing foot drop, doctors typically rely on a scale that rates foot mobility from zero to 5; zero referring to complete paralysis and 5 signifying complete foot mobility.


As there are many potential causes of foot drop, a doctor must first pinpoint its underlying source. To diagnose the cause, a typical foot drop diagnostic process includes the following steps:

  • A patient history, including the specific foot drop symptoms, past illnesses and use of any medications.
  • A physical exam, including an examination of the visual appearance and altered behavior of the affected foot and leg, as well as any signs of muscle atrophy.
  • Additional tests including, as needed:

What Type of Doctor Diagnoses Foot Drop?

Foot drop can be diagnosed by many types of physicians. If the lower back is suspected as a cause, it may be advisable to see a spine specialist, such as a physiatrist, orthopedic surgeon, or neurosurgeon who focuses his or her practice on spine medicine.

See Specialists Who Treat Back Pain


Once a cause is determined, various foot drop treatments may be implemented depending on the specific patient's condition.