Submissions from Readers

Hardened Knees

by Katie

Question: My mom had stroke for almost 2 years now but few months ago she suffered from sepsis.She hasn't been on a therapy for a year now. I think that's the reason why her right knee hardened, leaving it always on a 90-degree angle. She's always on bed nowadays and requires assistance in everything from bathing, eating and drinking etc.She can't sit on her own too. My question is, Is it still possible for her to be able to walk again and live normally?


Answer: If she has spent a lot of time in bed with her knee bent, she probably has developed a knee contracture. I would see an MD who may recommend serial casting or a knee contracture brace which will stretch it out over time. If it is really severe, they may even suggest surgery. The problem with some of the braces and casting is pressure spots so the skin has to be watched closely. Make sure she sees someone who is experienced in working with contractures like these.

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Dropfoot

by Ledi
(Philippines)

Question: What do I with drop foot? I' m not comfortable wearing an AFO, Walkaid is expensive.

Answer: There are various braces and straps that can help with drop foot that are not the hard AFOs but rather soft products. You can search AIDER Ankle foot brace for drop foot or Ossur Foot-up. You can also use an ace bandage such as shown in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKaSA_heIdI. You just have to make sure there is enough support to keep your foot from dropping. Some of the soft products may not offer enough support. I would talk to your physical therapist or an orthotist to see if any of these options would be appropriate for you.

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How to swim with a weak right leg as a result of a stroke 4 years ago

by John Ryan
(Spokane, WA)

Question: How can I swim laps with a weak right leg as a result of stroke? I'm thinking about using right leg floaty to reduce the drag from that leg?

Answer: I looked online to see if others had a solution to this problem. Some suggestions were a leg buoy at mid thigh level and buoyancy shorts. It was also mentioned if you use a leg buoy (or pool buoy) that you may need something to tie or secure the legs together as the weak leg will float out to the side. I have not seen or had someone try this so I cannot vouch to the effectiveness of it. Maybe some other stroke patients who are swimmers can chime in and give some suggestions.

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Foot and Ankle Swelling

by Joanne
(Wanaque, NJ 07465)

Question: My husband had a hemorrhagic left brain stroke nine years ago. He is in good physical health otherwise and gets around using his cane. His right side was affected and has no use of his right arm. His right foot has always been a bit swollen, usually getting worse as the day wears on.

However, for the past month the top of his right foot, his toes and his ankle have been swollen making it difficult for him to raise his foot properly to walk without tripping, especially without his shoes on. I have him keep it elevated and ice it at the end of the day, and I have also tried a compression stocking.

Can anyone explain why this might be happening now, and is there some other medical condition that might explain it? His diet is excellent and his blood pressure seems to be good. He is not overweight. I have suggested a medical checkup, but it falls on deaf ears.

Thanks for any insight into this.

Answer: He definitely needs to go get it checked out so that he can find out what is wrong as well as to get it treated before it causes him to have a fall.

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Rehab from hip surgery on stroke side

Question: I had a hemorrhagic stroke Oct 2015 and had labral hip surgery on my stroke side April 2016. The surgeon says the surgery was successful on the particular area, but my hip is not healing. I have pain sitting, standing, moving at a constant 3-4; I still walk, stationery bike and do my exercises, but with pain; daily pain is wearing me down. Do people with a post-stroke surgery not heal properly?

Answer: You mention that your hip is not healing. Has the surgeon indicated to you that the bone is not healing or are you thinking that the hip is not healing because you have pain? Bones can become weaker on the side affected by stroke due to disuse and muscle atrophy, but the bone should still heal. On the other hand, pain after stroke is not uncommon, and some people have a hard time controlling this pain. I would first talk to your surgeon about healing. If healing is not an issue, but pain is the problem then I encourage you to see a pain specialist that deals with post-stroke pain.

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