Physio helps stroke survivor get back in the saddle

A stroke surviving cyclist from Sheffield who was barely able to crawl to the end of her bedroom after being struck with the debilitating disease is getting back in the saddle thanks to a specialist physiotherapist.

Anna Colvin, 66, who lives in Broomhall, lost the use of the entire left side of her body when she suffered a stroke in 2000. Hospitalised for weeks, Anna lost all her muscles and was left frustrated, unable to carry out everyday tasks, let alone enjoy her regular bike rides, walks and swims. And, when she was cracked a vertebrae after falling down the stairs at home, Anna decided it was time to take action and visited Michael Lee, a specialist physiotherapist at Mi.To Therapy, in Sheffield.

Anna explains: “Just before my stroke I was a juggling three jobs and looking after my three children which was a challenge for me as a single mum. It was a stressful time but I had always been a physically active person so it was a major shock for the whole family when I suffered the stroke. “Not being able to get in and out of bed, walk or carry out simple tasks without help was extremely frustrating. My whole life had changed in the space of a week and I felt helpless to do anything about it.”

Determined Anna was desperate to get back on her bike and she knew she had to build her confidence and muscle strength. “When I fell down the stairs it was the final straw. I knew I had to start taking my rehabilitation more seriously and focus on getting back on my bike.” Inspired by Sheffield stroke patient, Kate Allatt, who had Locked-in Syndrome, Anna started weekly physio at Mi.To Therapy, based at Virgin Active, Millhouses in August 2012. “I’d seen what amazing progress Kate had made through regular sessions at Mi.To Therapy. She was rehabilitated from being wheelchair-bound to running independently in just 18 month and I wanted the same results.”

Michael Lee, who is also a consultant to Leicester City FC and has previously worked with Sheffield United and the Sheffield Steelers, said: “It’s been a pleasure to work with Anna. Her sheer determination to be mobile has fuelled the energy for her treatment and rehabilitation. “She works incredibly hard and the results are a testament to her success. Just like Kate Allatt, she is a magnificent role model to show that when the mind is strong, the body will also follow. Now that we have surpassed her expectations, she can run independently with great stability and strength. I cannot praise her enough for all the hard work she has put it.” Anna added:

“Michael is a brilliant physio and he has been so patient with me. The progress I’ve made over the last seven months is incredible. I’m now able to walk a mile and a half and my next target is to start riding a bike again.”