What is stroke after effects?

Stroke After Effects

Stroke: Preventing injury to the affected side of your body

In stroke rehab, you can learn how to prevent injury on your affected side. Your stroke rehab team can suggest things that are specific for you. But here are some general tips.

  • Prevent cuts and scratches.

    Keeping your nails trimmed can help.

    • If you tend to clench the fist of your affected arm, keep your fingernails short and smooth.
    • If you can't feel sensations in your feet, cut and file your toenails straight across.
    • Soaking your hands and feet may make your nails easier to cut.
  • Avoid burns.
    • Bathe and do dishes in lukewarm water.
    • Test the temperature of bath water or dishwater using your unaffected side.
    • Use pot holders whenever you work near a stove.
    • Turn pot handles away from you to prevent spills.
    • Wear nonflammable clothes when you cook. And don't wear clothes with long sleeves or ruffles that could get caught in an appliance.
  • Take steps to prevent a frozen shoulder.
    • Support your affected arm. For example, wear an arm sling when you sit up or walk.
    • Maintain full range of motion of the affected joints. You can do this either by moving your arm or by having someone move it for you.
    • Don't overexercise your arm. This can cause pain and make it hard to exercise.
  • Prevent swelling in your affected arm or leg.
    • Prop up the affected arm or leg. If your arm hangs down at your side for long periods of time, you will have more swelling in the arm.
    • Follow your doctor's advice about what daily exercises to do. There are exercises you can do to help drain fluid from the affected arm or leg.
    • See a physical therapist. The therapist can teach you how to do special massages that can help move fluid out of your arm or leg. You also can learn what activities would be best for you.
    • Try compression stockings to keep fluid from building up in your arm or leg. Your doctor or therapist can help you know what size to buy.

What injuries can occur when one side of your body is affected by a stroke?

After a stroke, you may not feel temperature, touch, pain, or sharpness on one side of your body. This may lead to injuries such as:

  • Cuts and scratches.

    These can happen if your nails aren't kept short and smooth. For example, if you can't feel sensations in your feet, you won't know if your toenail is cutting into your skin.

  • Burns.

    If you can't feel heat on your affected side, you may be more likely to get burns.

  • Shoulder problems.

    If you have poor muscle tone in an arm, you may be at risk for shoulder problems, such as a dislocated shoulder.

  • Swelling.

    Swelling occurs when the affected arm or leg can't move for a long period of time. A large amount of swelling can:

    • Increase the risk of skin sores (pressure injuries).
    • Increase your chance of having the joint stiffen (contracture).
    • Cause pain and discomfort in and around the swollen tissues.

Getting dressed after you've had a stroke

A stroke often affects movement and use of one side of the body, so getting dressed is often difficult for people after a stroke. Your stroke rehab team can suggest things that can help you. But here are some tips to make getting dressed easier.

  • Use assistive devices that may help you dress.

    Getting dressed may be easier if you use stocking/sock aids, rings or strings attached to zipper pulls, and buttonhooks. Clothing may be easier to put on if it has features such as:

    • Velcro closures.
    • Elastic waistbands and shoelaces.
    • Snaps and grippers.
  • Lay out your clothes in the order that you will put them on.

    Place the clothes you will put on first on top of the pile.

  • Sit down while you dress.
  • Put your affected arm or leg into the piece of clothing first when dressing.

    Then put in the unaffected arm or leg.

  • Remove the stronger arm or leg from the clothing first when undressing.

    Then slip out your affected arm or leg.

  • Think about whether to avoid clothing that goes over your head.

    It can be hard to remove.

How can you help someone who ignores one side of their body after a stroke?

Some people who have had a stroke ignore or are not aware of one side of the body. This can happen when the stroke damages one side of the brain.

Caregivers may notice signs that the person is ignoring, or neglecting, the affected side, such as:

  • Mentioning or responding to stimulation only on the unaffected side of the body.
  • Using only the unaffected arm or leg.
  • Looking only to the environment on the unaffected side.
  • Noticing only someone who speaks or approaches from the unaffected side of the body.
  • Responding to only half of the objects they would normally see, such as eating from just one side of the plate.
  • Not recognizing the affected arm and leg as belonging to their body and thinking that they belong to someone else.
  • Thinking that objects on the affected side are closer or farther away than they really are. The person may bump into furniture or have trouble eating or dressing.

Your doctor or stroke rehab team might give you tips for how to help someone who neglects the side that was affected by the stroke. These tips may include:

  • When you are working with the person's affected side, reduce distractions on the unaffected side. Distractions may include moving objects or bright lights close to the person. So, for example, make sure there are no moving objects or bright lights close to the person on their unaffected side.
  • Place objects that are needed most often on the person's unaffected side. Encourage use of the affected side by placing some objects (such as a phone, reading glasses, or a glass of water) on that side, prompting the person to also use the affected side.
  • Remind the person to pay attention to the affected side. Sometimes, attaching a small bell or bright ribbon to the affected arm or leg may act as a reminder.
  • Point out landmarks on the person's right and left sides when going places. Remember that the person may look at only one side of the environment, so use examples that get the person to look to both sides. For example, you might say, "Look out the window on your right, and you can see the river." Or you might say, "We're driving by our church over here on the left."

©2011-2024 Healthwise, Incorporated

The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.