What can be done to help dad walk again?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

My dad is in his eighties and had a couple strokes in the past several decades, and he can only walk with his left leg but he managed to walk everyday with help. However, about half year ago, his left lower leg becaome swollen and red. It was itchy and became and stiff in the surface. He was prescribed antibiotics several times to treat the swollen leg but nothing worked. Now his left leg is getting painful and he can't walk any more. What is exactly causing the red, painful leg? It doesn't sound like a bacteria infection. What can be done to help him walk again?

Expert Answers

For 20 years, physical therapist Connie Lambert has worked with individuals and families with Alzheimer's disease and dementia. As founder and CEO of Our Generations, LLC, she provides specialized dementia and behavioral management training for corporations, facilities, and groups.

Hello, It sounds like your father was being treated for cellulitis which can sometimes be resistant to antibiotics, dependent upon the type of infection that is present. Most concerning from your description is the fact that his leg is getting worse with increased redness and swelling and pain. In the elderly who have experienced strokes or have other health problems cellulitis in the lower leg can be accompanied by thrombophlebitis or blood clots in the leg. Since your father is experiencing these symptoms it would be advisable to have him examined for peripheral blood clots. Such clots are dangerous and can have life-threatening consequences. I wish you and your father the very best as you move forward to deal with this issue. Connie Lambert, PT, CCM, PhD