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Any exercises which can be done with 'foot drop'

(15 Posts)
busybeev Sat 15-Mar-14 13:54:36

My mum has foot drop which means she has no strength in her leg and gives her pain in her back and hip also she has problems with one of her hands She is trying to lose weight and has lost 1st with Slimming World. She would like to do some exercise but finds it hard to walk and wouldn't be able to use an exercise bike She would even struggle with yoga as she has no balance. Any ideas on anything she could do?

IslaValargeone Sat 15-Mar-14 13:55:20

Is swimming an option?

BikeRunSki Sat 15-Mar-14 13:55:45


busybeev Sat 15-Mar-14 13:58:35

Sorry i should have said she never learnt to swim and has no interest in doing so.

OddBoots Sat 15-Mar-14 14:02:45

I have spina bifida with foot drop and I swim (arms only, with a float strapped under my tummy/hips is all I can manage as my limp leg won't kick properly).

Does she have an AFO brace? If so (as daft as it sounds) a walk on a running machine might be okay, I really struggle walking on pavements with their various uneven surfaces and people and object obstacles but I can use a running machine at a slowish pace while holding on to the rail, if I want to make it harder I can increase the slope rather than the speed.

My gym also had an arm cycle so you use your hands/arms instead of your feet/legs, that is pretty good. I can use the exercise bikes that have a full chair type seat with a back rather than a saddle, has she tried this sort?

IslaValargeone Sat 15-Mar-14 14:10:50

I hope this doesn't sound harsh as it's not meant to, but if she has hip and back problems and is a bit overweight, then getting some flexibility and fitness is even more important.
If her options are limited maybe she can't afford to have the attitude of 'no interest in learning to swim'?
Is there any chance you could go with her and help her get some water confidence?

busybeev Sat 15-Mar-14 14:13:43

oddboots thanks for your reply.
She has a brace but is in the process of getting a new one as her old one is very uncomfortable and doesn't help.
I have a treadmill and said to her when she gets her new brace she should come and try walking on it and your suggestion about increasing the incline instead of the speed makes sense.
I will look for the bike you suggest. It's heartbreaking because she used to be very active and now she can't even take their dog for a walk.

OddBoots Sat 15-Mar-14 14:17:13

Rather than buying stuff do you have a local gym with a 'pay as you go' option where she could try various bits of gym equipment to see what she can manage? Council run ones are best but I know not everywhere has one of those.

busybeev Sat 15-Mar-14 14:18:00

No you don't sound harsh, I have had the same conversation with her. I might try again to ask her about swimming now oddboots has told me about her situation and using a float. I will offer to go with her. I know it will be good for her.

OddBoots Sat 15-Mar-14 14:27:48

I bought one of these when I was doing some physio after I had some spinal neurosurgery, I used it to keep me supported upright in the water so I could focus on re-learning the right movement for walking, I don't think it was particularly calorie burning so may not be what is wanted here but it did help me get control and movement back.

The swimming I do now just involves a regular swimming float that I tuck into the waistband of a swimming skirt over the top of my costume - a bit of a bodge-job but it works for me.

BikeRunSki Sat 15-Mar-14 14:28:13

My local pool does sessions for people of limited mobility, recovering from surgery, pregnant etc.

busybeev Sat 15-Mar-14 14:32:28

I was just looking on the website of our local pool for aquafit classes. I think she would go for that if someone could go with her. And I will look at flotation aids for her. Thanks for all your replies.

BikeRunSki Sat 15-Mar-14 17:21:57


ItsAllGoingToBeFine Sat 15-Mar-14 17:24:27

Another vote for aquafit, it is low impact and no swimming involved. Also, depending on where you are council facilities may run special fitness classes for the older/less mobile

CMOTDibbler Sat 15-Mar-14 19:56:30

My mum was still going to aquafit when her mobility out of the water was very limited, and it was good exercise esp as it helped flexibility.

You can cycle on an exercise bike with very limited leg strength if it has toe clips on it, and is good as it gets the bad leg moving in mirror with the other leg which is helpful neurologically. A physio would be able to advise - I used to see a private physio based at a leisure centre who was able to utilise the gym, so that might be a route, or her physio dept may have a bike and could show her what to do

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