My grandfather had a stroke and now cannot move his hand. What do we do?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 15, 2016
Josem asked...

Hello everyone.

For the past 9 years, my family has gone through extensive research and all sorts of treatments to further better my grandfather's condition. In 2001, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Through a mix of conventional and alternative treatments, my grandfather keeps going strong. He's gone through chemo, radiation, immunotherapy, stem cell therapy, etc. Last year, he even went through brain surgery at the age of 68. That left him quite immobile even after some physical therapy.

However, earlier this year, we saw the effects of his radiation treatment 5 years ago. He slowly, and thank God it was slow, slipped into a coma. The doctors didn't know what to do and just gave him steroids. My grandmother did her own share of curing by calling up her friend who was an alternative doctor. He suggested that we administer cayenne pepper tinctures into my grandfather's system, hoping to relieve the blood clots. After 36 hours of being in a coma, my grandfather finally WOKE UP to our delight.

It's now been 5 months after he suffered a stroke, and his feet and right hand are swelling up. His feet only started to swell recently, probably last month. As for his right hand, earlier this month or late last month, his blood sample had to be taken. So after being injected, my grandfather felt his right hand to be quite immobile. ONLY HIS RIGHT HAND, not even his entire right arm. Ever since he couldn't move his right hand due to that injection, it started to get swollen.

What should we do? I am trying my best to stay calm because I don't want to fill my system with worries. I've also done a couple of research that state that we should have him wear his compression socks a lot more often.

Sorry if this inquiry is long, I just wanted to give some sort of background about my fighter of a grandfather :)

Expert Answers

James Castle, M.D. is a neurologist at NorthShore University HealthSystem (affiliated with The University of Chicago) and an expert on strokes.

It is wonderful that he has made such a good recovery thus far.

Unfortunately, swelling in an effected limb is quite common after stroke. The tone of the small blood vessels in the hand are not being innervated properly by the brain, and that predisposes to leaking of fluid from the blood stream into the soft tissues. The best ways to treat that are either with compression devices (in his case, a snug glove might be best) or with elevation of the hand above the level of his heart to aid in fluid drainage by gravity. I am unaware of any medications that help for this particular problem. The swelling can become painful and lead to skin breakdown if not treated.

I hope that helps, and good luck!