Feet in Stroke Patients

Podiarists have an important role in managing the foot health of those who have suffered a stroke (or CVA). A stroke can affect the foot and its mechanics through muscle atrophy, paralysis, parathesia or vascular manifestations (similar to the original stroke).

Some of the features seen in stroke patients include:

  • Foot Drop
    • weakness of the ankle and toe dorsiflexors resulting in gait changes to avoid the toes from catching the ground during walking
  • Spastic Paralysis
    • increased involuntary stimulation and weakness of the musculature in the legs can result in a twisting of the leg (equinovarus deformity) causing the outside of the foot to bear the most weight.  The increased pressures on the outside of the foot can lead to calluses and skin ulceration along with difficulties in balance and walking.
  • Vascular insufficiency
    • depending on the nature of the initial stroke, the vascular disease resulting in the stroke can also be evident in the blood vessels supplying the feet.  This means that podiatry care is required for routine foot care to avoid complications.

These can be managed and controlled through:

  • Footwear advice
  • Orthotic Therapy
  • Custom AFO (ankle foot orthoses)
  • General podiatry