Muscle Atrophy

I had a relapse about two years ago and I have been in a wheelchair since.
My aim is to get walking again and my physio says that I have little nerve damage in my legs
I think that my inability to walk may be mostly due to muscle atrophy, as I was housebound during my relapse and hardly moved.
Does anyone have experience of this and can anyone suggest excercises to help me on my way?

I think you need your physiotherapist to devise a suitable program.

Personally, I’ve not be able to walk properly since 2012.

I do recommend hydropools for walking pratice though. I went to one for a while. I stopped when I realised that the amount of walking I did in the pool was subtracted from the walking I did out of the pool.

But I do have a certain amount of nerve damage. And a significant foot-drop problem, that basically affects that whole leg. So my experience of very different to yours I’m sure.

I would recommend starting the move out of the wheelchair as soon as you can though. The longer you’re in it, the harder it will get. Try just standing at first, if you have, or can get, a walker or frame, you can just practice standing. Knee bends and keepy-ups would help start your muscles off too. As well as any ‘core’ exercises.



I agree with Sue - your physio (or someone with that sort of knowledge), having given you the good news about there being not much nerve damage (and hurrah for that) needs to tell you how to slowly and steadily get your muscles back into working condition. Given what poor shape you’re in, I think professional guidance on how to restore function in a way that gets you there safely and surely would be the thing. It’s you who’ll have to do all the hard slog, of course! But in your shoes I would want reassurance that I was going about that in the best way.

Good luck.


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Okay, had I been able to see a physio then, yes, I would would have thought of that. Jeez.

nobody meant offence bostick, they were trying to answer your question as best they could.

if you have a gym nearby, go in to ask if there are any reduced rates.

then ask to speak to the chief trainer.

explain to him or her that you have ms and what that means to you at present.

honestly i did exactly that and they were brilliant.

good luck and i hope you are soon back on your feet.

sssue is correct in saying to strengthen your core as that is the best way forward.

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Swimming, or if your physio is on broad, hydrotherapy would be excelllent. point being the water takes the weight. Even if you can’t swim just walking in a pool is resistance to build muscles up again. plus you can’t relly fall over, well you can but you float!

Um, sorry for trying to help, but you did mention ‘my physio’. So it’s reasonable to assume you have some physiotherapy assistance.

And even without physio help, things like just standing from your chair, using your kitchen worktops to assist your balance is a start.

Plus, if you don’t have ongoing physiotherapy, your GP may be able to help with aiding you to access exercise facilities. There may even be a hydrotherapy pool at your hospital, there are some and it seems they keep the things pretty quiet, but it’s possible to get a number of sessions sorted via the GP. Or ask your MS nurse, contact your nearest MS therapy centre (if there is one - try looking at the ‘near me’ button on this site for the MSS group near you and ask).


I’m waiting for an appointment to have my first Hydrotherapy session. I feel that my issues are more to do with muscle fatigue, my legs just get heavier and awkward the further I try to walk or use them without stopping for a bit. Maybe though perhaps my real issues is that I just dont or wont accept my “new” boundaries/limits ?

Hydrotherapy is great. There’s something so lovely about warm water. Don’t overdo it though Jac. Take it reasonably steady. If you already have knackered legs, you’ll find using them in water is easier than out of the water. But if you overdo it, you could find that later, your legs take the hit of overuse badly.