Foot Drop Exercises for Stroke Recovery

For those on the road to stroke recovery, the path can seem somewhat unstable. This is because a large majority of stroke patients suffer a loss of balance after the event. In fact, it is believed that nearly 83% of all individuals have balance issues following a thrombosis or embolism. One way this can manifest is with compromised dorsiflexion, which is an inability or difficulty lifting the front part of the foot up.

Luckily, recovery patients can strengthen and work through their dorsiflexion with a comprehensive rehabilitation program and physical therapy. 

If you are a caregiver, home health aide, or a physical therapy planner, here are three foot drop exercises to improve dorsiflexion.

1. Seated Ball Lifts

To do this stretch, patients will need a chair and small round object: this object should be light and no larger than a baseball!

To begin, patients should be seated with the round object placed between their planted feet. Once this position is assumed, patients raise their legs to lift the object off of the ground. They should hold this position for at least one breath cycle. 

Once completed, the patient can return to the starting position and repeat for ten breath cycles.

2. Angled Towel Stretch

True to its name, the only thing that’s needed for the towel stretch is a towel! 

Stroke patients begin this stretch by sitting with both legs extended in front of them. If this is a difficult position to assume, they can ask for the help of a physical therapist or home health aide. 

The patient should place a towel across the affected foot and hold both ends of the towel in their hands. Once the foot is nestled in the middle, patients can use their leverage on the towel to pull their foot. The goal is to effectively flex their foot through the pressure of the towel. 

Once flexed, the patient should hold the stretch for a few breath cycles and repeat for ten repetitions!

3. Seated Ankle Cross

To complete the exercises, all that is needed is a chair! Patients should begin in a seated position with their stronger leg crossed over the affected one. They should then place their foot on the affected ankle. 

Patients can press the top of the lower foot into the sole of the stronger one. Once pressed, they should hold the position for one breath cycle and release. They should repeat this contraction for ten breath cycles.

For more information on senior care services contact an experienced nursing agency. They can answer your questions and help with loved ones at what may be a stressful time.