My mother had a bad stroke seven years ago. She got to the point where she could walk with a walker. Her right side was affected plus her speech.
About a year ago, she had what they called a mini stroke. She was garbling her speech, but had been getting real week for the whole year before this.
My brother died of cancer and I think she worried herself into this last stroke.
Anyway, she has not been able to walk since a yr. ago when she had the mini stroke. Also she could not use her right hand. She can't even eat with it.
She had therapy for awhile, but time ran out. A month or two after she had therapy, her right hand "drew up". I mean her fingers are curled up in her palm and she can't straighten it.
She doesn't go to the doctor, just sees an RN. The only time she sees a doctor is at the emergency room when she gets bronchitis or something. She has to be taken in an ambulance. The doctor at the emergency said he couldn't deal with her hand in emergency if it had been that way a long time.
Has anyone else had this happen or is it maybe arthritis?
The knuckles do seem to be swelled.
hi Julie, from my understanding, her fist drawing is quite common following a stroke. while in therapy her OT occupational therapist should have made her a hand splint that she'd wear to keep her hand open? my theapist showed me, each person has a trigger point on thier hand that will open it up on its own, once she finds that trigger point? she should be able to get it open and relaxed. mine happens to be my thumb and wriste for the most part my hand stays open, except after a sneeze or asserting stronf pressure trying to do something. if I pull on my thumb bending it back or bend my wrist down gently but firmly my figers will open, like I said it's relaxed most of the time, my problem times are during sleep at night my hand will close into a fist to the point my fingernails break the skin in my palm.
what I've learned to do, is, just before going to bed, I'll relax my hand, then while relaxed I'll take a rolled up sock, put it in my hand, figers wrapped around the sock, then take another sock and pull it over my hand up my wrist holding the sock in place. this works great for me, my wife has to help put the socks in place. she could also go to a medical supply store and buy/order a pre-made boxed hand splint that's held in place by velcro straps, though may need a doctor's script? also a lot of stretching of rhe fugers might help? and I mean a lot!
I hope this helps at least a little? until you find a s esolution to the clawing? remember to keep her fingernails cut good and short!
good luck. if I can be of any other help? just ask I've been a stroke survivor for 17 years
happiness is a way of life, not a goal in life, success comes in cans not can'ts
Thank you Coupe for your reply. No the therapist did not supply a splint because it wasn't drawn until after the therapists got through with her therapy.
I don't even know when it happened. All of a sudden it was there. They did work some with her hand but were more concerned with getting her to walk. Which never happened.
I could get a splint for her hand but I can't get her hand open. Her thumb and pointing finger will open, the rest you can't open because she yells with pain. The knuckles are real swollen also.
I will see if I can find her pressure point and get her hand to open.
hi again Julie, on November 2nd. will mark my 17th anniversary of my stroke. by the way, my stroke was caused by a crushing work accident, and my stroke occured in the emergency room. then lapsing into a 9 day coma. as soon as I woke up and stabilized,my therapies started. I had therapy 9 hours per day 6 days per week. it seems that therapists and insurance companies are mostly interested in getting the patient to reach their plateau? then cut therapy off I never had that problem, because I was covered under workman's compensation. still am, after spending about 2 months in the hospital, I was sent to a rehab hospital where I stayed 30 months. as they say "no pain no gain" that's therapy! if her thumb and pointer finger open? that's a start. if that happens by bending her wrist down slowly? or any other way? the trick is to get to the pain point then hold, until the pain stops then go a little further, stop then go more till all fingers open. it may take 30-45 minutes or longer. but, I'm sure it will get there with persistence. remember this, it's never too soon to start therapy, it's always too soon to stop therapy! regardless of what they call plateau, you don't stop getting better until you stop trying to get better. I'm probably back to 75% of my former self, still have more work to do on my affected left arm/hand. but I'll get there in time. I've managed to get completely out of my wheelchair for over a year now, except if going shopping or where there will be lots of walking? I can walk 1/2 mile unassisted in any way. that's because of thousands of hours of therapy. when I get to the point with my arm/hand on my own, that I think professional therapists can do more, I'll go back into occupational therapy for their help and advice, but I refuse to give up. though I'm very happy with my progress thus far, I'm shooting for a 20 year course until 95% recovery.
by the way, there is a surgery that can release your mom's hand, though I warn you it is very painful, and will only release the tightness of tendons and ligimates, will not cause any actual use of her hand? I had the same surgery on my affected left foot for drop foot, my foot no longer drops. but I still cannot raise my foot/toes off the floor, it only allows my foot to lay flat on the floor increasing my balance greatly giving me more independence, able to walk better, longer.
not sure if this helps you anymore? but I'm trying!
good luck and god bless
happiness is a way of life, not a goal in life, success comes in cans not can'ts
Thank you for your reply. Boy, you have really had it rough!
I can't even imagine doing that much therapy and for that long. It's great that you have a good outlook though, that counts a lot.
I don't stay with my mom every day just 24 hrs on then 24 off. My sister stays the other 24. I will share her letter with you and we will start working on her hand right away,
trying to get it open and exercising it.
Evidently, the nerves in her hand have something wrong that cause her to think she has something in her hand. She is getting alysheimers, but I think the nerves in her hand make her feel like something is there. She keep trying to hand me things. She says they are bobby pins, buttons, all kinds of things. You cannot convince her her hand is empty.
Thanks again for your help. I will certainly get started tomorrow.
You need to get her to a doctor who specializez in spasticity. She has extreme spasticity in her finger flexors causing a claw hand. If left untreated the muscles and tendons can permanently shorten into a state called contracture. If that happens it is very hard to correct.
Another thing that may help is massaging her fingers or contrast baths for the affected hand. My OT never suggested or fitted me for a splint either but my current PT thinks it might be helpful to stop my fingers from contracting further. Research online has so far not been as positive about the results but I will discuss it with my doc on my next visit and take her advice on it.
Best wishes to your family,
Last edited by ennbee; 08-12-2011 at 12:27 PM.
Reason: a small case of stoopid
So happy to have you, we are here to help, and as you can see there are some very experienced and wonderful folks here offering their experience to you. Since this is not my area of experience with my strokes, I will simply welcome you and offer you my support while you and your sister do the right thing and take such loving care of your mother. We are all behind you!
Hello Julie:My fingers are curled too and I will be getting a resting splint in a couple of days for my wrist and fingers. I will be using the rehab dept. oh the hospital my personal physician is associated with. My stroke was 9 months ago and splinting was never suggested during my rehab PT or OT. I have a new PT now and she suggested it and my doc agreed.
With every good wish,