The exercise I am showing you today addresses my affected side and works my legs and feet. I wear a custom-fitted AFO (or ankle-foot orthosis, a support intended to control the position and motion of the ankle, compensate for weakness, or correct deformities; AFOs can be used to support weak limbs, or to position a limb with contracted muscles into a more normal position).
The reason I like this exercise is that it builds strength and mobility throughout my entire leg and foot, and in fact both my right and left. It reminds me to bend my knees, lift my thighs, to hold my feet flat, turn my body when I need to, etc. This exercise has even gotten me in the habit of going to bed at and lifting my right leg all the way up and over from the floor to the bed as necessary to get it in! Tom is so pleased and impressed! Also, since doing this exercise regularly, I have noticed my ability to perform tasks that I used to be able to do (and no longer could do immediately subsequent to my injury) has improved - tasks that require me to move my right leg more and more - I am able to stand better and longer, walk better and longer and turn better and longer! I don’t even use the cane around the house very often - I walk solo!
As I mentioned previously, and something I will continue to stress throughout my posts, it is pivotal to perform as many of these exercises in front of a mirror/reflection as possible. This is one of those exercises that I cannot stress the importance of a mirror to be able to watch yourself as you do it. It is our job now to train the neurons from our brain to re-engage with our muscles. Watching your knee bend and then watching your leg straighten is so important! It has already helped me so much - my ability to “push and pull” my right leg is so much stronger and better (according to Tom) since I’ve been doing these leg walking exercises! Again, be sure to follow the instructions below carefully.
Many post-stroke victims are not limited by actual strength, but by the loss of muscle memory provided by some of the brain’s most elementary functions. Think of these exercises as brain games just as much as strength/mobility activities and you will be on your way to independence in no-time!
If you are just starting out - post-stroke - you will probably need someone to support your movement and help when necessary. As I have said before, even if you have reached the point of physical independence after your stroke, it is still nice to have someone supporting you emotionally and mentally through these exercises.
1. At first I do my “Stand Up/Sit Down” exercises using the soft upholstered chair. This gets my thighs used to the up and down movement. Then I do my Floor Plank Step-Up & Step-Down exercises which gets more of my whole leg involved in the movement.
2. My first “walk” is forward, without any cane and about 20 feet.
3. Then I “walk” backwards the same 20 feet.
4. Then I turn to one side and I “walk” 20 feet.
5. Then I turn to the other side and I “walk” the same 20 feet.
6. I do these 4 regimens each 5 times.
Be sure to check out my Instagram at “poststrokepeg.” And also be sure to check out at this website under “Getting To Know Me,” my article on Sleeping Regularly 8 Hours Plus.
God Bless You, Peg
“Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” —Roald Dahl