A stroke (or cerebrovascular accident – CVA) occurs when the supply of blood to an area of brain tissue is interrupted, for example, by a blood clot or a bleed. When starved of oxygen, the related brain cells start to die and brain function is affected. This loss of function can result in an inability to move one or more limbs on one side of the body, inability to understand or formulate speech or an inability to see one side of the visual field.

There are two major types of stroke:

• Ischaemic (over 80% of all cases): the blood supply is interrupted due to a blood clot. Blood clots typically form in areas where the arteries have been narrowed or blocked by fatty cholesterol-containing deposits known as plaques.

• Haemorrhagic: a weakened blood vessel supplying the brain bursts and causes brain damage. The main cause of haemorrhagic stroke is high blood pressure (hypertension), which can weaken the arteries in the brain and make them prone to split or rupture.

Stroke symptoms typically start suddenly, over seconds to minutes, and in most cases do not progress further. Signs and symptoms may include:

• Numbness or weakness resulting in complete paralysis of one side of the body

• Sudden loss of vision

• Dizziness

• Communication problems

• Problems with balance and coordination

• Difficulty swallowing

• Sudden and severe headache, especially if associated with neck stiffness

• Blacking out (in severe cases)

Following a stroke, a rehabilitation team can try to help regain lost skills and allow the brain to repair and retrain itself as much as possible, but long-term effects are common.

AFOs  and SAFOs are commonly used to help hold up the affected foot to prevent what is commonly referred to as drop foot. They can also be used to prevent hyperextension of the affected knee. AFOs and SAFOs can be used short term or long term dependant on the individual’s recovery during rehab.

If you would like to discuss your condition with our specialist team, please email us by clicking here or call +44 (0) 1425 481740.