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Strokes that cause claw hands

Updated March 23, 2017

Strokes affect different parts of the brain, depending on the type that occurs and what damage it brings. One of these symptoms with some strokes includes a muscle paralysis of the hand, making them look like claws. However, this does not occur in every stroke case; much depends on the stroke type and how fast medical response treatment occurs.

Cause

The claw hand condition develops as the nervous system and muscle group in the hands are disrupted. The stroke damages the brain's network that shoots out signals, directing movement. In some cases the damage can be great or even permanent, depending on how long the stroke lasts. The affected hand curls in with the related paralysis, looking like a bird claw.

Brainstem Stroke

One of the most catastrophic stroke types, the brainstem stroke, causes muscle paralysis which can cause a claw hand condition. However, more worrisome is that this type of stroke directly impacts core body functions such as the heart, lungs, and digestive system, possibly shutting them down. In this regard, a claw hand affliction may be the lesser symptom compared to other possible health damage.

Right-Hemisphere Stroke

A right-hemisphere stroke occurs in the right side of the brain. As it occurs, such a stroke can cause damage to the left side of the body. One symptom includes muscle paralysis. This can affect both arms and legs, including the left hand, resulting in a claw hand condition from the related nerve damage.

Ischemic Blood Clots

According to the American Heart Association, 87 per cent of strokes occur as a result of an ischemic blood clot. This clot stroke occurs in arteries leading to the brain, cutting off blood flow to brain cells in affected distribution areas. The ischemic blood clot situation contributes significantly to the condition of claw hands, being the primary cause of many brainstem or right-hemisphere strokes.

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About the Author

Since 2009 Tom Lutzenberger has written for various websites, covering topics ranging from finance to automotive history. Lutzenberger works in public finance and policy and consults on a variety of analytical services. His education includes a Bachelor of Arts in English and political science from Saint Mary's College and a Master of Business Administration in finance and marketing from California State University, Sacramento.