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Stroke rehabilitation exercises for the leg at Circle Rehabilitation

A stroke is a life-changing experience. Many people experience significant problems with one or both of their legs following a stroke.

Without the right support during stroke recovery, these issues can remain for the long-term. One study found that around 35% of stroke patients with initial paralysis of the leg do not regain useful function, while 20-25% are unable to walk without full physical assistance.

Circle Rehabilitation, Birmingham is ideally placed in the West Midlands for people in Birmingham, Coventry, Wolverhampton, Dudley, Stoke, Shrewsbury, Worcester and beyond. 

You don’t need to be local to benefit from our state-of-the-art recovery centres. We offer residential facilities, so we are poised to help patients from across the UK.

It is important to receive effective rehabilitation for any leg difficulties caused by stroke, as a lack of treatment can cause long term damage such as permanently shortened muscles.

Muscle weakness

Often people experience a significant weakness in the muscles of their leg, causing poor balance and/or reduced mobility.

Contraction/spasm of muscles

As well as causing muscle weakness, a stroke can also cause muscles in the leg to contract or go into spasm for long periods of time. When this occurs, it is referred to as muscle tightness or muscle spasticity.

Sensation problems

A stroke can cause difficulties in the sensation in your leg and foot which can affect balance and mobility.

Proprioception problems

As well as potentially causing problems with the feeling in your leg and foot, a stroke can cause problems with proprioception (the ability to know where your body is without looking). This can also cause balance and mobility problems.

When our physiotherapist is working with you to restore function in your leg, they will begin by giving you a full assessment. This assessment may look at:

  • Sensation
  • Movement
  • Proprioception (the knowledge of where your body is)
  • Function and mobility

Some stroke patients will experience a decline in all of these areas within the affected leg, while others may experience a decline in only one or two.

Neglecting your leg

Our physiotherapist will also look at whether you are neglecting the affected leg. When recovering from a stroke, it is common for people who are experiencing a weakness or numbness in their leg not to use it as much as usual. In more severe cases a patient sometimes may not realise their affected leg even exists.

Our rehabilitation programmes are medically-led - your care and rehabilitation is overseen by one of our specialist rehabilitation consultants and physicians. Your leg rehabilitation will be delivered by a Circle Rehabilitation physiotherapist, working as part of a multi-disciplinary team of specialists. After assessing the extent of any loss of function in your leg, a comprehensive rehabilitation exercise programme will be created, tailored specifically for you. This may include:


Your leg will be expertly moved in certain ways to ensure range of motion is maximised even if you are unable to move it properly yourself. You may also be given specific leg movements to practice unaided, if you are able to do so.


We have a number of specialist treadmills – including the AlterG anti-gravity treadmill and the Hydro Physio – that provide you with a safe way to regain muscle strength and increase confidence when standing and moving.

Gym equipment

From a leg press to exercise bikes, we have a range of functional equipment that can help you with your leg rehabilitation.


One of the most common things affected by a stroke is balance, and so we have the Biodex Balance System SD on site to help increase balance and agility, all in a safe and effective way.


Deep pressure can be relaxing and calming, helping the central nervous system to process sensory information. A deep massage of the leg can be useful to stimulate muscles and nerves that may not be functioning as normal.

Contrast bathing

Also known as hot/cold immersion therapy, your leg is immersed in warm water, then immediately in cool water. This immersion in alternating temperatures is repeated a number of times.

A change in temperature can have a positive effect on the central nervous system and even in patients who have minimal feeling in their leg this simple exercise can be of benefit. Due to the risks associated with this therapy, it is important that it is tried with a therapist initially.

Mirror therapy

A stroke will often leave weakness, partial or temporal paralysis in one side of the body. When a mirror is placed between your legs, the reflected image of a moving leg can stimulate different parts of the brain, aiding rehabilitation of the affected leg.

Virtual reality

We use TyroMotion, a state-of-the-art technology that combines neuroscience and technology to help with lower limb rehabilitation.

Everything we do – whether with our state-of-the-art equipment and technology or through focused individual time with one of our physiotherapists – is directed to giving you back your independence as fully and as quickly as possible.

If you are struggling to regain your independence or confidence after a stroke, why not seek help from the very best specialists, in the very finest purpose-built rehabilitation centre and with the very best possible care?