When walking becomes difficult after stroke, rehabilitation is required to retrain the brain how to control movement. In this article, you’ll discover encouraging statistics about walking after stroke, along with ways to maximize your chances of recovery.
Although it’s impossible to say whether a stroke patient will be able to walk again, experts can agree that the chances of recovery increase with the intensity of rehabilitation. After 2 years of long-term rehabilitation, researchers found that 74% of patients had regained their capacity to walk without assistance.
A sobering study found that stroke patients without rehabilitation regressed significantly. Fortunately, when rehabilitation is pursued beyond the 2-month mark and continues for as long as there are changes in function, the outcome is much brighter.
If you’re interested in walking again after stroke, the rest of this article will explain what your rehab plan should entail. Stroke patients should pursue and experiment with different methods for rehabilitation until they find what works for them.
By working with advanced equipment and a team of therapists, patients can make considerable gains with gait improvement. Rehab exercises that target the feet can help retrain the brain and improve your strength and ability to walk safely.
In the photo above, you can see a stroke patient performing seated marching exercises with Flint Rehab’s Film home therapy. Check out Film’s reviews to see how it has helped other patients improve their walking and balance.
Optometrists, neurologists, occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists are all great resources for vision improvement. Your therapist or speech-language pathologist can also screen you for a condition called hemineglect, which can cause stroke patients to be completely unaware of their affected side.
Finally, a simple yet challenging method for relearning how to walk after stroke is task-specific training. Some patients need the assistance of a walker or cane to get around safely, but task-specific movements of walking are important brain and body healing.
By training alongside therapists, you can relearn how to walk again after a stroke as well as improve your gait. Walkers are mobility aids, providing support to individuals who have difficulty walking or maintaining balance without assistance.
Walkers are typically utilized for the elderly, those with mobility challenges, or those rehabilitating from a physical injury. Something else to consider: basic walkers can more easily get caught on carpets or uneven outdoor terrain, making chances of a fall more likely.
Having a place to carry personal items leaves the user’s hands free for gripping and braking. Because it touches the floor in four places rather than one, a semi walker offers a wider and more stable base than a cane would, making it a safer choice for users who can use only one arm for support.
Posterior walkers are intended for users who need forearm and shoulder support in order to maintain proper alignment for walking. Also known as gait trainers, these walkers are frequently used by children who have cerebral palsy and other neuromuscular disorders, to teach postural control and balance during walking.
Research has shown some people who use gait trainers have improved posture and hip extension. The easiest way to find whether a walker is sized for a child or an adult (because, at first glance, it may not be evident) is to look into the product’s description.
Some reasons for this lack of ability to stand without support may be a healing wound, pain from poor circulation, arthritis, hip precautions, limited mobility following surgery, or learning to walk with a prosthesis. In any of these cases, utilizing a walker will allow an individual to receive the support needed to take slower, deeper breaths.
These can include multiple sclerosis, stroke, low blood pressure, or inner ear imbalance. The reassurance of having a walker to lean on means more mobility, which can, in turn, increase physical fitness.
Utilizing the right walker allows these individuals to remain an active part of their social groups and families, in addition to participating more joyfully in daily life. To determine the right height for a walker, the user should stand upright with their arms resting naturally at their sides.
When selecting this option, be sure the user can support the majority of their own weight, and feels confident in their ability to control a wheeled walker. If you are recovering from a foot injury and want more ease of mobility than crutches can offer, a knee walker is a great alternative.
Most large health insurance companies will also cover your doctor-prescribed walker or collator as Durable Medical Equipment. That said, it’s always wise to check with your particular insurance carrier about their specific DME policy prior to purchase.
The use of a walker can bring a sense of independence back into life for people who no longer has the stamina or balance to walk without a helping hand. Passionate about connecting special needs kids with superb nutrition, sensory integration, and complementary health strategies.
Excited about Rehab mart's mission to become the premier online educational platform which empowers caregivers by spotlighting innovative devices and interventions to achieve optimal patient response and recovery. Ellen May 12, 2016Health Eight out 10 stroke patients experience mobility difficulty on one side of the body.
Increased physical activity or exercise is a misunderstood component of poststroke care, this according to the American Stroke Association. A growing body of evidence supports the benefits of exercise for stroke survivors.
The recommended exercise level by the American Stroke Association is low to moderate intensity aerobic activity. Walking simply with a semi walker can improve functional capacity and ability to perform activities of daily living.
If you or a loved one has a temporary injury or a more permanent limitation due to age or illness, a walker can give stability and boost confidence to move around safely. To make adjustments, the legs slide inside the frame to the right level and are secured with lockable buttons.
Standing next to the walker, the handgrips should be even with the crease of the user’s wrists while they also have their elbows slightly bent. To use, basic walkers must be lifted with each step the person takes moving forward.
Most collators come with a carrying bag or basket attached to the front of the walker, or one can be added. Some rolling walkers have flip down seats which come in handy if the user becomes tired and needs a rest before proceeding.
The weight of a basic walker should be light enough that the person does not fatigue picking it up repeatedly to walk. With your specific needs in mind, let’s take a look at the walkers customers consistently rate highly.
Customers regularly commented on how the bi-level handgrip design helped them rise from the chair or toilet. One person commented that they did not need to buy a separate toilet rail support system since they could use the walker.
Another stated that due to her large size and weight, she felt safer using this walker over others. Some customers used this walker as a main stability device for transferring from a chair to a wheelchair and preferred that it not have wheels.
The dual opening and closing mechanism uses a “pop up” flap that makes an audible click when locked. Composite braces along the lower sides of the walker stiffen the structure to gain rigidity.
Sliding the telescoping legs and engaging the locking buttons allows for height adjustments. If you plan to purchase the 5-inch wheels for the standard model, take note that you will be raising the lower height limit and may want to buy the youth walker instead.
Lightweight, easy to fold Folds to 4 inches Can add 5-inch wheels Adjusts for multiple heights Comfortable to grip, supports 300 pounds Comes in youth height size Lifetime limited warranty Practically every customer commented on how lightweight and easy to fold the walker is for transport.
Those customers who did buy the 5-inch wheels commented that the height of the walker became taller and was a problem for short users. The Winnie Lite Supreme Aluminum Collator is a three-wheeled lightweight maneuverable walker suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.
They reported the wheels move smoothly and easily, and they didn’t “feel like an old person” using it. A number of people reported that the brakes and cables arrived stuck or were too tight and needed adjustment with a screwdriver.
Cons: Tripod design not stable enough for some users No seat Brakes and cables may need adjustment or are hard to squeeze Does not come in a youth size The Guardian Envoy 480 Deluxe Collator is a lightweight, four-wheeled rolling walker with 8-inch wheels suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.
Most customers found the Guardian Envoy 480 easy to use, safe, stable, and well constructed. People reported taking it outdoors, to stores for shopping as well as rolling it over grass and cobblestones.
A couple of people stated that while the walker does fold up to be carried in a car, it is a bit heavier than other collators they had tried and might not fit well in small trunks. The walker is easy to put together though a few people reported having trouble adjusting the brakes and that over time, some other screws loosen.
The front two wheels are 10-inch caster style allowing it to roll over more rugged terrain. The sling style seat is made of a thick nylon, and the backrest is removable and height adjustable.
People were very impressed with how well the 10-inch front wheels rolled over gravel or grass, and how light and easy the walker is to fold and stow in their car. Customers were constantly asked where they bought the walker and received other positive comments.
One woman felt more secure using the brakes on her Nitro over other collators she had owned, giving her more confidence. They had contacted Drive directly but since they had purchased the walker online versus at a medical supply store, they seemed to run into some roadblocks.
Pros: Lightweight, sturdy, easy to fold and transport 10.5-inch wheels roll over rugged surfaces, brakes well Adequately supports weights up to 300 pounds Maneuvers wells, comfortable seat Some people find walkers are an easier alternative to crutches or canes, particularly if they don’t usually use assistive devices.
If height is an issue, the I-Class Dual-Release walker comes in a youth size, and you can add two wheels. If getting out of a chair is the hardest activity to conquer, the Stand Assist Folding Walker will be a solid option.
Both these basic walkers are light and fold easily making them easy to take in the car or store when no longer needed. However, it is not as stable as a four legged or four wheeled walkers, which is a major consideration if the person is unstable in any way.
It rates the top spot because it comes in 3 sizes to accommodate tall, standard, or petite users. The Nitro is a few pounds lighter than the Envoy 480, has more streamlined handbrakes, and it is easier to fold for transport or storage.