Why do they happen?
A stroke can affect the way your muscles work. Your brain sends signals to your muscles, through your nerves, to make them move. A stroke can damage your brain and affect these signals.
Balance is very complicated and involves different parts of your body, including your eyes, ears, muscles and joints. A stroke can affect any or all of these things, as well as the way they work together.
What kind of problems do people have?
- Drop foot: this is when your toes catch on the ground when you step forward because the muscles that lift your toes are weak
- Problems with stamina: you may find it difficult to keep moving for a long time. So if you’ve been active for a while and start to feel tired, you may find that you become more clumsy and find it more difficult to control your movements
- Spasticity: this happens when your muscles become very stiff and tight, which can make it difficult to move your arms and legs.
Will they get better?
It is possible for problems with movement and balance to get better. Most people see the biggest improvements within the first weeks and months after a stroke.
After this, recovery can be slower, but many people carry on making improvements and become fitter and stronger months and years after stroke.
Are there treatments that can help?
Where can I get further information and advice?
Bladder and Bowel Community
Information and support for people with bladder and bowel disorders.
Brain and Spine Foundation
Information on a wide range of neurological conditions of the brain and spine. The Helpline is staffed by neuroscience nurses and health professionals.
British Pain Society
The largest UK association for health professionals involved in the treatment of pain. Includes a section for patients, which has FAQs, publications and information on pain clinics and pain management programmes.
British Society of Gerodontology
Works to protect, maintain and improve the oral health of older people and produces guidelines for the oral healthcare of stroke survivors.
UK charity that supports and represents people who have disfigurements of the face or body, including facial paralysis caused by stroke.
Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)
Provides information on all types of visual impairment, including living with sight loss, registering as partially sighted, benefits and your rights as a person with visual impairment. Can refer to specialist advice services, support groups and the RNIB Emotional Support Telephone Service.
The Sexual Advice Association
Information about and support with a wide range of sexual problems. You can download factsheets from the website, and there are links to other sources of support.
Find out more
- Physical effects of stroke - our leaflet with lots of information about muscle weakness, spasticity and drop foot and how these problems can be treated.
- Information about physiotherapy after stroke, including one-sided weakness.
- Balance problems after stroke - our leaflet with lots of information about problems with balance.
- Find out more about the physical effects of stroke on My Stroke Guide. As well as free access to trusted advice, information and support 24 hours a day, My Stroke Guide connects you to our online community, to find out how others manage their recovery.