Submissions from Readers

when should a stroke patient walk with a cane or without a cane

by Mai Mowrey
(Vietnam)

Question: My brother suffered from a hemorraghic stroke 3 months ago. He currently can walk with the walker, but we want to know when he can walk without the walker and move to a cane?


Also, he thinks his hip is not strong, how do we measure it? Also what exercises does he need to do to make his hip strong? Thank you.

Answer: A physical therapist should be working with your brother and can tell you when he is ready to move from a walker to a cane. If your brother has already been discharged from therapy, then I would recommend asking for more physical therapy to evaluate if he is ready to move to a cane. A physical therapist can also test the hip strength and design a home exercise program to strengthen the hip. I usually tell patients to strengthen all muscles/movements as able. Strengthening muscles is really no different for a stroke patient than for anyone else. It's just that the technique used may have to be adapted based on how much movement/strength the patient has. If therapy is not an option, your brother could also consult with a personal trainer that has experience or knowledge about working with stroke patient. Below is a link to a webpage that has a guide with some hip strengthening exercises. Always check with a therapist or doctor to make sure exercises are appropriate for the patient.

http://www.stroke.org/sites/default/files/resources/HOPE_Guide_2007_chap4.pdf

Also, here is a website with hip testing techniques:

http://at.uwa.edu/mmt/hip.htm

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