Severe leg stiffness after icu covid recovery - ICUsteps

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Severe leg stiffness after icu covid recovery

Miltch profile image
Miltch

Hi, my dad is in a regular ward waiting for a neurological rehabilitation place. He is very stiff and unable to move his legs, he’s had a small bleed on the brain and encephalitis with no seizures when he was on the ventilator. He’s now medically safe, what he now needs is intense physio and rehab. He can move his arms and hands, but his legs are completely stiff, he can feel them but they are very painful. He cannot straighten them and the physio have given us devastating news, he thinks there’s a chance he may never walk again. He said he has no reflexes.

As a family, we’re petrified. We think without rehab and intense physio, how can he say that? Has anyone else any experience or advice please?

15 Replies

I would suggest your final paragraph is very telling - I needed substantial & targeted physio over 2 months to get to he point where I could walk with rests about 100yards

Miltch profile image
Miltch in reply to Sepsur

How long was you bed bound for?

Could you stretch out your legs before you could walk?

Sepsur profile image
Sepsur in reply to Miltch

I was in a coma for 57 days - after that I was hoisted into a sitting up position for a few days for a couple of hours at a time, before the physios got me sitting over the bed, standing etc etc.

It was an incredibly slow process and took me enormous effort which ultimately paid off.

I’m not sure what you mean by stretching my legs out. At first, I could barely raise my thighs off the bed - I certainly would not have been able to swing my legs off the side of bed. I could not support my own weight & my feet/ankles were numb. I had no core strength.

Miltch profile image
Miltch in reply to Sepsur

Wow what an amazing recovery you have made.

I’m so worried, my dads legs are bent from him being put on his sides throughout his illness time, they now seem stuck in that position, they hoist him into a chair and sit him on the end of the bed and that’s all fine but his legs are only ever bent, and they’re very painful for him when they try to stretch them straight. He can slightly lift them up and down but that’s it.

Sepsur profile image
Sepsur in reply to Miltch

We lose so much muscle, so the wastage is one thing, the muscles also shorten - hence the stiffness and pain. My physios got me going again

Miltch profile image
Miltch in reply to Sepsur

Very true, I’m praying they get my dad going too.

Thank you for your responses, you are a real comfort for so many on this forum.

Sepsur profile image
Sepsur in reply to Miltch

Are you Uk based?

Miltch profile image
Miltch in reply to Sepsur

Yes.

Hi I was in ICU in August last year and the physios tried to get me to move and sit on the edge on the bed whilst in ICU. I hurt all over and stiff. When transferred to a side room on a respiratory ward (I had pneumonia). I phoned my husband and told him I couldn't walk!! I really thought this was the case. But With physio I started a few steps just from bed to chair. I progressed and eventually managed to walk round the ward. Due to muscle wastage and to be honest being ill it takes it out of you. I had no core strength and pushing up to stand was a feat on its own but time is a great healer which I know is a cliché I was 55 when I went in and quite fit came out feeling 80 😂 but I'm back at work full time now just been treated for a frozen shoulder which apparently was from ICU but gp didn't pick it up so been living on pain killers. But had steroid injection 2 weeks ago and waiting for physio as cant lift arm very high. But getting there. 😁Good luck with your dad. Take care and best wishes

Miltch profile image
Miltch in reply to micheve123

Wow another amazing recovery story, so so pleased for you.

Physio have tried with dad but he can’t move his legs, he can stand for a few seconds then his legs buckle and he’s put back into bed.

He’s 72 but before covid was more like 60, very fit and healthy. He played tennis 4 times a week, it’s completely devastating to see him like this. I’ve arranged for a private masseuse/Physio to see him, he’s going to do some stretching exercises and massage with him. Praying he can work miracles!

I am going to a private physio next week but he does activation therapy which is amazing as both my husband and I use him but due to covid he hasn't been allowed to open. Previously when I was fit but to be honest suffering with back problems due to poor posture I was laid on my back and he asked me to lift my legs as high as I could. He then went to work on activation and I could lift them as if I was a 20 year old. My husband was suffering with shoulder injury and he sorted that with a few sessions and no problems since and that was 2 years ago. I hope it helps with physio and massage. X

Miltch profile image
Miltch in reply to micheve123

That’s interesting, I’ll read up about it. Thank you x

My dad was on a ventilator for 57 days with Covid he was in a coma for 42 days so 15 days he had a trachy fitted. He could not Walk atall he spent alot of time proned so they did say he's got a chance of nerve damage. He could stand but not do nothing else they moved him to a ward and he still struggled.barely able to move. They sent him home on the 16th of April to my care as that's my profession and he didn't want to go into a rehab home. Yesterday we was walking around Morrison's un aided. We just started off small standing up and down. Then a few legs exercises till will gradually started small walking trials. He is only 59 but does have a bad back and that effects his nerves so for him to come through all this is a miracle so just hang on it takes time. Best of luck to your dad

Miltch profile image
Miltch in reply to Pray4miracles

That’s another amazing story.

Fantastic your dad is another covid survivor.

I hope my dad will be one day walking round the shops with me 🙏

For anyone U.K. based - we do structured & targeted movement and strength building sessions - all on zoom with fantastic trainers.

Every week, no matter what level you are at we have a class for you

icustepschester.org

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