Using a fork

Hi. Has anyone whose left arm and hand were affected by a stroke managed to hold and use a fork normally again? I’m finding it impossible so now eat and try to cut food with my right hand! I use my hand as much as possible for everything else but somehow I cannot manage to hold or control a fork. My fingers just don’t want to co-operate and if I do manage to spear a piece of food it’s quite likely to end up trying to get into my nose instead of my mouth! Any ideas?


Keep on trying, but don’t go hungry!
My right side was affected, but every so often I put the fork in my right hand for practice and get on with it. My case is different because my right hand motor functions were remapped. Even so, feeling and proprioception are still developing, so I have no idea I am holding the fork, unless my eyes can see that indeed I am holding it

Good luck, Roland


I use a fork and a pair of scissors as cutlery. The scissors mean I can cut up food without needing to pin it down with the fork… It does mean I have to keep switching between the scissors and fork in my right hand.


Have you tried cutlery with a thicker handle for better control? I seen some folk wrap paper knapkins around the handle and others who bring their own special cutlery when we go out for meals in my aphasia group.

I do find my stroke isn’t as dexterous with a lot of things, even with folding washing.


Have you tried some finger exercises ? Touching each of the fingers on your thumb ?
Various others, anything you can make up really. Middle finger on top of finger to the right and then same for the one on the left

Somewhere in there, there is the body memory of what to do. If you don’t think about it does it work better ?


@Apple this is a strange one isn’t it. I have the same problem, I’ve tried looking at my right hand holding the fork and copying it but it just feels completely wrong. I can sort of do it badly if I force myself but my food is cold long before I can eat it. The best therapy I’ve found is to use plasticine on a chopping board and practice the knife and fork working together. You do need to remember not to eat it though :rofl: :rofl:


Thanks for all your suggestions. Yes I do finger exercises but really there isn’t much sensation in them but onward and upward. Like the fork and scissors idea. Will try that tomorrow and also try wrapping a serviette round my fork!


Thanks Strings. Good idea but Ive got a better one! Instead of plasticine I could use cheese - then I could eat it!! Seriously though thats a good idea - will try it. Just cant seem to get this hand sorted at all


I have the same problem… some sensation, but not much. Let me know how you progress,
good luck, Roland


Thanks Roland. Will do

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That’s something I’m working on. It’s hugely complicated. The OT I’m working with is very good though so I’m confident I’ll get there eventually. I’ve found I get on much better if I put my knife down and concentrate on the fork I manage better. I also work on strengthening my index finger using an elastic band and holding an Oxo cube with my 4th and 5th finger.

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I’ve got the other problem to you. My right hand doesn’t work so I can’t YET hold a knife .

First of all my little finger won’t stabilise it. The middle two fingers won’t hold on to it properly. The index finger won’t stay on the top of it to apply pressure but curl up and off to one side. The thumb doesn’t provide enough pressure.

Turned around these same statements are about the exercises I need.
There are all sorts of exercises with cloth-pegs and paper clips for improving dexterity also keyboards, therapy putty…
Another aid to improvement is pipe lagging to make ordinary handles thicker or buy thicker handled cutlery

One of the ‘challenges’ Is that eating isn’t something I want to disturb with poor dexterity. This is a demotivator

I am getting closer to reaching the plateau where I feel that I’m close enough to able to practise - I can eat a bowl of cereal with a spoon in my right hand :slight_smile:

One other key things I’ve found is that by improving my shoulder and elbow movement I have better enabled my arm to get my wrist into position
but getting my wrist to move and flex sufficiently, particularly with my fingers maintaining a stable grip is where the total challenge reveals itself.

I still haven’t been able to get my thumb and little finger, third finger or second finger to meet but first finger and thumb now will

Maybe I need to just do an 2 hours a day of ‘slog’ - maybe that’s my Christmas present to myself? Next time on here, more time on the self?

Perhaps that’s what Pam was alluding to :slight_smile:
@pamelai1 - are you still working with Jessamy?


HI @Simon Yes, I am still working with Jessamy.


I can get my thumb to meet each of my fingers easily and have been able too for quite a while. I’m not good at carrying anything although that is improving. Did pick up a smallish vase of dead flowers this morning- fed up with looking at them and husband just ignoring them! - got them into the kitchen which isn’t very far and only spilt a few drops of water!!
My fingers just seem to cross over each other at times and getting them to hold a fork is impossible. If I do manage to spear a piece of food it’s quite painful for a few seconds.
On the up side I did manage to drive around 5 miles in the car today but I was so tired when I got home!


Hi i had a stroke about seven years ago. I still find it difficult to hold a fork in my left hand. Have you tried a fork called a knork they are made with a cutting edge and you cut using a rocking motion holding it in your right hand. It doesn’t feel right at first but you get used too it


Never heard of a knork. Will see if I can find one on the internet. Thanks

I think i got them off ebay if i remember correctly

Thanks. Will have a look

Hi my hubby had two strokes 3 nearly 4 months ago he has issue picking up a cup his has hand shakes or he drops the cup he gets very annoyed at himself I cut stuff up for him. Do u have serious memory issues to he does it’s a nightmare

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Hi Shirley @Dougal
Yes I have memory issues, my hand and arm shakes when I try and put effort in.
I drop everything within about 15 seconds because my grip is not sustainable .

I’m 3 years post stroke; if he’s at the stage at 4 months then he’s doing comparatively better. There should be in that, I think - cause for hope?

The potential for emotional changes after stroke could be part of why he gets annoyed. It is very frustrating not being able to do something as ‘simple’ as drink your coffee . One that annoys me everyday is trying to tuck a shirt into the waistband of my trousers :frowning:

I have found that improving hand control goes hand in hand excuse the pun with improving shoulder and elbow & wrist range speed and strength of movement.

If your husband is 4 months then it’s likely that this is old capability that wasn’t destroyed returning. Building new capability is a challenge of repetition and application for most of us - and probably for him too. If he works at it the prospects for progress are good - please encourage him .

In the meantime, as his carer - have you got access to support? Carers are often the unsung heroes and your needs are often neglected. There are support groups around the country


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