Our passion is to empower our patients to restore normal movement patterns and improve their independence. We strongly believe that repetitive practice is the critical component for neuroplasticity to occur. And this means that what you do in therapy is just not enough. A daily home program is critical to enhance the gains made in therapy.
That being said, here are some of our recommended products to help with your home exercise program
These mat are great for holding a plate in place when eating with only one hand or to set jars on so that you can easily open a screw top without the jar moving.
These straps are great because they have a rubber backing so they do not slip. They can be used to keep your leg from going out to the side when performing exercises, or keep your arm in position when performing arm exercises. They have a velcro closer so they are easy to put on a take off with one hand.
This is a more durable strap that is also wider so it is a little more comfortable compared to the blue nylatex straps. The d-ring closure is much more secure. For leg positioning you will need to strap 2 together as they are very small.
Here is one video of how I use these straps:
Rocker Knife for One Hand Cutting
This is an essential product and works great in cutting meat, bread and cooked veggies. I would not cut fresh, hard veggies as you would need something to stabilize the vegetable;
Cutting board for One Handed Users
This cutting board is great!. The pegs can peirce foot to hold it down and the corner can hold bread in place while you spread a condiment on the bread. This is a great way to start regaining your independence while at the same time you make sure to devote several hours a day to USING the weaker arm. 🙂
This will help people with weakness in the hand to grip on to a walker. I also use this product to grip onto a PVC pipe to do stretches for the shoulder and elbow. Images and video coming soon. 🙂
Tools and Products for the Leg
Do your toes curl when you stand and walk?
This can happen if you have spasticity as a result of a neurologic condition. A toe separator does exactly what the name states. It separates the toes 🙂 When the toes are separated in this manner, It can decrease the tendency for your toes to curl under. The Metatarsal Gel Toe Separator is a favorite because of its low profile design (allowing it to fit inside most shoes), and the super soft get material. The one downside is that if you have use of only one arm, you will need someone to help you put this on as it does take the use of two arms.
Do you have a hard time getting your heel down when you stand? Or, maybe you notice that your knee hyperextends when you try and lift your uninvolved leg. If either of these are true for you, you (most likely) have poor ankle dorsiflexion range of motion. This can be due to tightness or spasticity in the plantar flexors (the muscles that point the foot down).
What does a night splint do?
A night splint holds the foot in a dorsiflexed (toes/foot up) position. This will help to lengthen the plantar flexors (the muscles and tendons that point the foot down)
What are the benefits of a night splint?
If so, you are missing a HUGE opportunity to improve your dorsiflexion if you are NOT wearing a night splint when you sleep. Why? when sleeping, the body is more relaxed and can have greater benefit from the stretch. Prolonged stretching is the BEST way for soft tissue (muscles and tendons) to permanently change their shape (lengthen)
Which night splint is best?
There are several to choose from. The one I recommend is the Norco Night Splint. First of all, it is it is adjustable. So it will fit most people regardless of how severe the foot is pointed down. Second, it is durable. Although this night splint is a little more expensive, trust me it is worth it. I have experimented with several “cheaper” night splints but for severe tightness or spasticity, the straps do not hold up. Finally, and most important, is the position of the strap that goes over the ankle. Most night splints have a strap that is higher on the ankle and a second strap that is lower on the foot. The 2 strap configuration allow the ankle to roll out to the side (very common if you have severe spasticity). The ONLY way to control this is to have a strap that goes directly over the bend in the ankle.
Foam Positioning Wedge
A foam positioning wedge has several benefits and is a great addition to your home exercise “equipment”.
How can you use a foam positioning wedge?
- In sitting, place the wedge under your involved hip (with the widest side facing outward so that the “pointed” end is right under the middle of the buttocks. This will position the body with more weight bearing on the involved hip and will also even out the shoulders.
- In standing, place the wedge under the involved foot so that the outside of the foot is higher off the ground than the inside of the foot. This is extremely important if you have spasticity in the leg as this will prevent the foot from rolling out. Practice standing on this several times a day.
- In standing, you can also use this to stretch the plantar flexors. position the wedge so that the toes and forefoot are higher off the ground in reference to the heel.
A heel lift is great if you have a contraction in your muscles that point the foot down. LIfting the heel will help give you greater stability in standing and prevent unnecessary “spasticity”.
Swedish Knee Cage for Knee Hyperextension
Knee hyperextension is very common when there is weakness around the knee or in individuals who have spasticity in the ankle muscles that point the foot down. A swedish knee cage helps prevent the knee from hyperextending.
Tools for Hemiplegia: Arm Rehabilitation
Theraputty is a great exercise tool to help regain hand movement. It is kind of like resistance bands for your fingers 🙂
Balance and Core Stabilization Tools
Having trouble with your balance? Standing on these pods has many benefits. I recommend standing with your hands on your counter with 1 pod under each foot. This adds a challenge that will strengthen your ankles and improve the more “automatic” balance response reactions. This will surely make uneven, outdoor terrain seem a little less scary. 🙂
A gym ball is an extremely valuable tool to regain lower bed strength, core strength, and balance exercises. Here is a video of exercises that can be performed with a gym ball.
Gym Ball Sizing Recommendations
|Your Height||Ball Size||Ball Height|
|Under 4 feet 10 inches||Extra Small||45 cm|
|4 feet 8 inches – 5 feet 5 inches||Small||55cm|
|5 feet 6 inches – 6 feet||Medium||65 cm|
|6 feet 1 inch – 6 feet 5 inches||Large||75 cm|
|Taller than 6 feet 6 inches||Extra Large||85 cm|
Anti Snap Resistance Bands
Resistance bands are a great way to add difficulty to your home exercise program. Anti snap bands are a little more expensive but they will last a lot longer and you will not get injured if the bands happen to snap
These resistance bands are a great way to strengthen the muscles around the hips. This pack comes with 5 different resistance bands so you can easily add difficult as you get stronger.
Here is just one example of an exercise that can be performed with these resistance bands
Single Band Theraband loop
Here is a link to purchase a single band. This is the best option for lower extremity exercises as the resistance is a little stronger and will really challenge leg muscles.
Fall Prevention and Walking Aids
U -Step Walker
This is one of the best walkers on the market. This walker has many benefits over a traditional rolling walker. Read more about everything I LOVE about this walker.
Here is a product review and more details about this walker: What is the best walker for balance?
Essentials for a Home Gym
Home Exercise Mat Table
Performing your home exercises is not easy in a bed on a soft mattress. And for many, getting on the floor to perform exercises is not an option. I highly recommend a mat table so that exercises can be done safely, you can maintain better form on the firmer surface. Additionally, if you are in the early stages of recovery it is much easier to first learn bed mobility on a firmer surface. This table is extremely durable and the 33″ width allows a little more room for rolling onto your side. It is low to the ground, height adjustable and it can be folded to store in a closet or under a bed when not in use.
Switch On Your Brain
I highly recommend this book if you are having trouble staying on track with your goals and staying motivated. The author does a great job explaining how to change the way you think about things to ultimately change your behaviors to be more beneficial to your goals
Every struggle with sticking your your plan (for example your therapy exercises)? Atomic habits is an easy to follow method teach you how to form new habits and stick with them.
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