Stroke may result in paralysis to one part of a person's body. Despite paralysis, movement is still important to minimise risk of skin breakdown, contractures and chest complications.

Here are some examples of lower limb exercises for stroke patients.

Hip joint: Support the thigh with one hand and the leg with the other hand. Bend the hip by bringing the knee towards the patient's head as far as you can. With the same handhold, bring the leg away from the other leg, hold for 20secs.

Bend the knee and hip to 90 degrees, fix the knee and rotate the leg in, hold for 20secs. Rotate the leg out, hold for 20secs. Keeping the knee straight with one hand, and supporting the leg near the ankle, gradually lift the straightened leg up away fromt he bed until you feel a resistance (up to a maximum of 70 degrees), hold the stretch for 20secs.

Ankle: Support under the heel. With the other hand, keep the knee straight. Using your body weight, stretch the ankle by bringing the foot upwards towards the head, hold for 20secs.

Stabilise the foot, move the toes by bending them forward and backward. Repeat 10 times for each movement before moving on to the next. For patients who are very stiff, you can repeat these set of exercises more than once a day.

Points to note when performing these exercises:

  • Keep the joints well supported during movement
  • Never force a joint
  • Always monitor for pain or discomfort
  • Perform each movemet slowly
  • Do not bounce when you are holding the limb for a stretch

If you are unsure of any of the exercises shown, please consult a neurological physiotherapist or ask your doctor for a referral.