Foot Drop and Hip Replacement

August 3, 2015

Is Foot Drop after Hip Replacement Malpractice?

foot drop after hip replacement

There are limited circumstances under which foot drop developed after hip replacement surgery is medical malpractice.

Foot drop or drop foot means that you have a problem lifting the front of your foot; for example, you might drag your foot when you walk. This problem is not  a disease, but is related to a nerve injury, muscle or nerve disorder or a brain or spinal cord disorder. If you develop foot drop after hip replacement surgery, it may or may not be medical malpractice. If you had hip replacement and developed foot drop, contact us and we will help you determine if your case is medical negligence. After all, the point of hip replacement surgery is to improve your walk, not make things harder for you.

Treatment for Drop Foot

If you are suffering from drop foot, there are a number of options your doctor can explore with you to resolve or improve the problem. Those treatments include:

  • Orthotics (inside your shoe)
  • Braces for your foot or leg
  • Physical therapy to strengthen your foot and leg muscles
  • Surgery to repair the nerve
  • Electronic devices to stimulate leg nerves

If you are experiencing drop foot, your first step should be to get an opinion from both your original surgeon and a second doctor about your case. The most important thing is to resolve the problem. It is critical that you be diagnosed early on so proper treatment is provided as soon as possible. A lawsuit is the secondary concern. However, you do want to make sure you talk with a lawyer prior to the end of the time period during which you can sue. Otherwise you will be unable to seek compensation. This time period is called the statute of limitations and in Pennsylvania it is two years.

Normally Not Malpractice – But it Can be

Due to the fact that foot drop is a known complication of hip replacement surgery, under normal circumstances, it is not medical malpractice. But, if your lawyer, in cooperation with your doctor, can prove that negligence occurred, you might be able to pursue a malpractice claim. When is this damage malpractice? Under the following circumstances:

1. The nerve was cut. During hip replacement, the doctor needs to be very careful not to cut the wrong part. If he cuts the nerve, leading to permanent damage the doctor might be liable to you for the damage he caused.

2. You developed a bleed after surgery that wasn’t dealt with immediately.

3. The most minimally invasive incision possible wasn’t used.

4. The hip and leg were lengthened too much. In this case, your lawyer would compare the change in length before and after surgery. A certain amount of change is to be expected and is acceptable.

If you had hip surgery and are now suffering from foot drop, your best bet is to speak with an attorney who focuses on medical malpractice. That lawyer can discuss your situation with you and help you determine if you have a claim against the surgeon who operated on you.



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