What is the role of lab testing in the workup of foot drop?

Updated: Mar 23, 2020
  • Author: James W Pritchett, MD; Chief Editor: Vinod K Panchbhavi, MD, FACS  more...
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Answer

Workup of foot drop proceeds according to the suspected cause. In cases where a cause (eg, trauma) is readily identified, no specific diagnostic laboratory studies are required. In cases where unilateral foot drop occurs spontaneously in a previously healthy patient, further investigation into metabolic causes (eg, diabetes, alcohol abuse, and exposure to toxins) is required. The following tests may be helpful:

  • Fasting blood sugar
  • Hemoglobin A1c
  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)
  • C-reactive protein (CRP)
  • Serum protein electrophoresis/immunoelectro-osmophoresis
  • Blood urea nitrogen (BUN)
  • Creatinine
  • Vitamin B12 level

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