Stroke Training and Awareness Resources (STARs)

Management of leg weakness

For further information on the CLOTS Trials select the links below:

Clots Trials Collaboration(2): Effectiveness of intermittent pneumatic compression in reduction of risk of deep vein thrombosis in patients who have had a stroke (CLOTS 3): a multicentre randomised controlled trial

Clots Trials Collaboration(3): The Effect of Graduated Compression Stockings on Long-term Outcomes After Stroke

Clonus is commonly seen in the calf. Slowly lifting the foot up at the ankle to stretch the calf and then carefully replacing the foot back on the ground so that the weight is going down through the heel of the foot will help this. Ask the person to try and relax as you are doing this.

Difficulty standing: Ensure that you are aware of the person’s physical abilities. It may be that they require the assistance of more than one person or a piece of equipment. Or they may just need assistance to place their foot in an appropriate position for them to stand safely.

Pain: You should ask the person if they have any pain and observe them as they are standing/walking. Report any concerns to senior staff as pain can affect a person’s mood and ability to participate in rehabilitation.

Altered muscle tone: How you handle and position a person’s leg will influence their muscle tone. Liaise with the physiotherapists and occupational therapists for advice on individual cases.

Increased risk of thrombosis: Encouraging movement can help reduce the risk of thrombosis. Note that since the publication of the CLOTS Trial 1 (2009), it is recommended that compression stockings are not routinely used in the prevention of deep vein thrombosis after stroke.

Difficulty walking: Ensure that you are aware of the person’s physical abilities. If you are walking with someone you should position yourself on their affected side and use any walking aids/splints provided. It is also important to make sure that the person has appropriate footwear.

Page last reviewed: 20 Jan 2020