Department: Ask the Experts
Q My left side was paralyzed after an operation for arteriovenous malformation several years ago. After months of therapy, I was able to walk a few hundred feet without help, but my foot began arching and turning inward. Is there any way to relax or get rid of this?
A You are to be commended on an excellent question and the hard work you have done in your therapy to start walking again after your paralysis.
Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) arise from a collection of abnormal blood vessels at birth. They can develop in different parts of the body, including the brain. You are probably experiencing the neurological condition called dystonic posturing. From your description, it seems that the brain cells that once controlled the posture and muscle tone of your foot may have been disturbed during the surgery to remove your AVM, as sometimes happens.
Be sure to tell your neurologist of your difficulty. He or she may request more studies, such as MRIs and EEGs, and adjust your present medications, physical rehabilitation program, or diet. Your neurologist may also try to relax the posturing of your foot with medication. Of course, there is no standard treatment; therapies are tailored according to each patient's own medical history and examination results.