Submissions from Readers

Walking challenges

by Maureen
(Glenview, Il)

Question: I suffered a stroke 5 years ago. I had a heart transplant 3 years ago and did my rehab post-transplant. After a year I was released as functional as I was able to walk with an assist device. I exercised regularly and no longer use the device but I still can't walk properly. I have foot drop and my toes still catch the ground occasionally and anyone can hear the slap as I approach. I can't kick the ankle on my affected side out in front of myself properly when walking and The knee on my affected side wants to turn out and I have a lot of pain in the hip on my affected side. When I try to walk more quickly or longer the back of the knee on my affected side hurts as if it's been hyperextended. What kind of exercises are available to move from "functional" to truly functional?

Answer: You can try traditional knee and ankle exercises, but if you find they do not help, you might want to consider kinesiotaping the foot or leg or using an AFO (ankle foot orthoses). I know that sometimes people do not want to use an AFO, but if you are at a risk from falling due to drop foot and are also having hip pain, it may be something you want to consider. Kinesiotaping would be a less invasive measure than a brace, but it may not provide enough help. For examples of exercises to improve drop foot and knee strength, you can view:

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