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burning sensation when climbing the stairs

I know I’m incredibly lucky that I can still run around and play my team sports that I love, but I’ve noticed an odd sensation in recent months and wondered if anyone had felt the same. I can run around for a good hour playing a hockey match and only suffer the odd stitch from being winded, but I’ve come to hate climbing the stairs. Even if it’s just one flight of stairs, by the top, my thighs feel like I’ve just climbed the empire state building. They’re completely sapped of stength and burning. I’ve asked my physio, but he doesn’t know about MS and I’ve asked my docs, who don’t know that much about exercise. It doesn’t make sense to me that I can run around with no problems but the motion of walking up stairs does me in. Have others found that you only have problems when walking/moving a certain way?

Hi Yes this is me as well steps and slopes, absolutely kill me, i can walk for miles but still have the burning sensation in both legs but not as bas as when i use stairs or start walking up a slope. I take 1500mg of gabapentin a day to help which is does to a degree but not with the stairs. Do you have an MS nurse who can try you on some medication that might help. I have the same problem in my arms as well when reaching above my head or hanging out washing. it is horrible and have total sympathy

Not dx’d yet so not really qualified to answer. I do suffer with my legs, walking any distance is a pain. But I find stairs so much worse than the flat. I have just been on holiday and my apartment was at the top of a flight of stairs, every time I wanted to go into my apartment I stop at the bottom of the stairs and basically rev my self up to climb them, then at the top my legs, like you say, feel like you’ve just climbed a mountain! Same or worse coming down! Jx

Don’t know the answer, but my guess (based on own experience) is that the body is incredibly good at doing workarounds when there is some sort of deficit to cope with. So it might be that your system has a little bit of damage to deal with, and it can find a way around it on the sports field, but the motion of getting up stairs calls directly on the bit of you that the messages aren’t getting to/from propely, and you system can’t quite correct for that one. The action of lifting up the foot to get over an obstacle or up a step is one many people with MS (me included) struggle with, even when walking on the straight isn’t too bad. I’m afraid the stair difficulty is a very typical MS one. Alison x

Hiya Irskdansk, Dont really have any answers for you but it may be because of the different muscle groups and nerves involved in the two activities. I know I am more cautious when going up stairs, and down, than I am walking on the flat. Therefore I tend overuse some muscles to ensure stability. My muscles also overtighten in my attempt to matain stability making it harder to make them work. Its also possibly that it has something to do with momentum which is making walking easier compared to going upstairs where you are lifting the whole body Im still relatively mobile and like you say since you are still active and able to play sports feel like you cant really moan but also find it hard to get answer/help to the niggles. Can you get a referral to a Neuro physio through your Neuro/GP or MS nurse. They are much more in tune with MS and how it affects your mobility. I saw one a while back for a few session who was really good and her advice quite often was the opposite of anything I had been been told at sessions a few yrs ago with a “general” physio. Hope you get some answers/relief Roisin x

Hi all, thanks for the advice. I’m due for my annual neuro check-up soon so might ask them if they know of any physios a bit more clued in to MS that can help me figure this one out.

oohh glad I found this post. I’ve noticed that I can’t walk up my stairs without having to rest at the top for a few minutes. My thigh muscles burn like crazy and my legs feel like they want to give away under me… it’s horrid… yet I can bimble about the garden and house all day long and not get this feeling!

loads of great tips and clues on muscle burn on stairs from athletes, triathletes, an energy math calculation and smoker non-athletes below… [Link removed by Moderator, contact by PM]

while it has to do in part with momentum, different muscles, different metabolic pathways, etc. i dont see it yet, but i just posted a link to great tips and clues on muscle burn re stairs from athletes, triathletes, an energy math calculation and non-athlete smoker… as a control group reference…