mobility after stroke

Mobility after stroke

‌The information was created by our in-house Occupational Therapist.  We understand it can be difficult finding the information you need and often very frustrating.  These articles aim to help make life easier by collecting together useful information.

Following your stroke and depending on the degree of the stroke, your mobility may be affected due to paralysis, reduced balance, reduced coordination and fatigue.

Physiotherapists are key professionals in helping you regain your strength and function in your arms and legs.  During your rehabilitation, they will use their professional knowledge to help you retrain your body to encourage movement.


Both in the hospital and in the community, you will see a physiotherapist, who will provide rehabilitation focusing on short and long-term goals.  The goals will depend on the extent of your stroke and your progress.

They will:

  • Review your bed mobility and advise on positioning strategies if required
  • Assess your ability to complete bed transfers and recommend the use of transfer aids to ensure your safety.  Transfer aids may include a full hoist, standing hoist, sara steady or a cricket II.
  • Review your walking ability and advise on the correct aids to help you to progress safely towards your mobility goals.  These may include a rollator frame, gutter frame, quad stick or a walking stick.
  • If appropriate, they may also provide you with exercises to complete in between sessions to help strengthen your limbs. You should complete these as recommended by your physiotherapist as they will aid in your overall rehabilitation and progress.
  • Before you are discharged, they will liaise with community physiotherapy teams to refer you for ongoing physiotherapy at home if required.

Long Term mobility effects

Many people will demonstrate some progress with their mobility after a stroke. If you find you are unable to mobilise long or short distances you may consider the use of a wheelchair.  This can be very daunting and upsetting at first, however, it can offer you a great deal of independence which you may feel you have lost.

There are a number of wheelchairs available including:

  • Attendant propel wheelchairs – when you rely on others to push you in the wheelchair. Often these wheelchairs are used for people who struggle to walk long distances or are unable to use a self-propel or power chair.
  • Self-propel wheelchairs – these have a 22” or 24” wheel and rely on the individual pushing the wheelchair using the rim on the wheels.  They are used both indoors and outdoors. However, you would require a good degree of upper limb strength, particularly when using them outside to navigate uneven terrain.
  • Power chairsThey are electrically powered chairs which can be used both indoors and outdoors.
  • Scooters – They are vehicles used for outdoor mobility.  They are often cheaper than power chairs and for some people reduce the psychological burden often associated with wheelchairs.

You can be assessed for a wheelchair from your local NHS wheelchair service which will be based on your GP location.  Each wheelchair service will have eligibility criteria. It is worth calling or checking online what the eligibility criteria are prior to completing a referral.  However, as a rule, most NHS wheelchairs services will not provide power chairs for outdoor use only, nor will they provide scooters.

If you are unable to get the wheelchair for you from the NHS then you can privately purchase one at Spring Chicken



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