Apraxia happens when you are unable to do learned movements or gestures. You may have the desire and the physical ability to do the movements, but you cannot. This is usually due to brain damage, such as a stroke or a brain tumor . There are many types of apraxia. If you have this condition, you may also have aphasia . Aphasia is a language disorder.


Stroke can cause brain damage, which can lead to apraxia.
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Apraxia is caused by diseases or damage to the cerebral hemispheres in the brain, such as:

  • Stroke (especially a stroke that affects the brain’s left hemisphere)
  • Brain tumor
  • Trauma to brain
  • Infection
  • Degenerative brain disease, such as:

Risk Factors

Since this condition is associated with stroke, it is important to know the risk factors for stroke, such as:

Talk to your doctor if you have any of these risk factors.


The following is a list of some of the common forms of apraxia and their symptoms:

  • Buccofacial or orofacial apraxia (common)—inability to make facial movements, such as winking, whistling, or sticking out tongue
  • Constructional apraxia—inability to copy or draw simple figures or to construct two- or three-dimensional forms, associated with Alzheimer’s disease
  • Gait apraxia—marked by shuffling steps, stooped posture, halting steps, inability to step over obstacles; associated with Alzheimer’s disease
  • Conceptual apraxia—inability to select or use tools or objects properly, inability to make complex coordinated movements and to perform tasks in order; associated with Alzheimer’s disease and stroke
  • Limb-kinetic apraxia—inability to make fine precise movements with hands or fingers (eg, manipulating coins); associated with Alzheimer’s disease and stroke
  • Ideomotor apraxia—inability to copy movements or make gestures, inability to perform a function on command; associated with Alzheimer’s disease and stroke


Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. She will also do a physical exam. Tests may include:

  • Neurological evaluation to isolate deficit—You may be asked to:
    • Imitate posture, movement, sequences
    • Draw shapes
    • Assemble designs
    • Pick up or rotate coins
    • Select a tool (eg, a hammer) and demonstrate how to use it
    • Arrange movements in sequence
  • Examination of muscles used in speech
  • Assessment of walking skills
  • MRI scan —a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of structures inside the brain
  • CT scan —a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of structures inside the brain


Your treatment depends on what kind of apraxia you have. Families should ask the doctor about individualized treatment programs, which may include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Cognitive rehabilitation

Home Care

If you are living with someone who has apraxia, these healthcare providers can offer support:

  • Discharge planner—to help arrange for continued care, such as long-term care or outpatient treatment
  • Social worker—to help identify resources for families and patients
  • Mental health worker —to help families cope


It may be difficult to prevent this condition. Since it is strongly linked to stroke, following steps to prevent stroke may help. Some of these steps include: