Using a cane outdoors for the first time

So I had to use a walking stick outside(purple and flowery), it really helps with the pain. And stops be from walking weird.

It was the first time, it was at uni, and i felt very shy and embarrased especially because im not diagnosed with anything.

And it felt strange when there I saw a man with all white hair and beard walking normally may God keep him that way.

I think he tried to smile at me but I was looking down and avoiding eye-contact with everybody. But near the chemistry building (where everyone would know me) I folded my stick away and put it in my bag, I can cope with small distances Thankfully. I wouldn’t know what to say.

Im making a big fus because it normally only lasts for a few days it will go away soon.

I would just like to hear what you guys felt like the first time you decided/doctor decided you needed a walking aid.


I started using a walking stick in 2014 due to my left hip and both knees in pain. At work they helped me and in shops I was helped in many ways. My MS hasnt helped but you learn to manage.

Graham x

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I started using a walking stick in February after my Neurologist suggested it I had fallen twice out walking the dog. I used a ski pole initially because I was embarrassed but also because I needed to get the right walking stick have a foldable patterned one that I can put away. Since I started physio I have been given an AFO support so I don’t need to use the stick as often.

When I first started using it I was still under investigation so avoided places with people I knew and just told a few people who I knew might see me what was happening. Once diagnosed I started going back to other areas, it was difficult as I am only 39 lots of people presumed I’d had a ski injury this season so was hard saying sadly not its a bit more than that but everyone has been lovely.

I did get asked by a neighbour this week if I’d got better because they’d noticed I’m using the stick less, explained that I have a foot support now which helps.

Snowqueen xx

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I started using a stick a few years ago and now I use a scooter when shopping. It really helps and people tend to get out of the way when the see me coming so that helps too. Lol!!

Don’t feel embarrassed and you are not making a fuss. It was a big thing for me too at the age of 50 to be using a stick and even more of a big thing to use a scooter at 53.

I felt embarrassed for the first time but you get used to it so don’t worry. If it helps then that is the main thing.

Take care.

Shazzie xx

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Thank you everyone. I feel weird because I’m only 23 and I look much younger! People on the phone ask to speak to my parents! haha.

My family has been joking around with me too. Calling me an old lady, I respond by saying " a cane has more than one use" (prodding ppl being an alternative use lol) :wink: haha. Surprisingly my son has been so nice . He’s only 2.5 and normally he likes to play with sticks but he acts as though he hasn’t even noticed <3 . My mum was shouting at me at first ,saying theres nothing wrong withyou and its all in your head but I think she’s just worried.

But hopefully I’ll be ok in a few days hopefully!

Thank you for sharing your experiences I know its a very personal thing.

Thankyou for sharing that,Snowqueen xxx

Allo Cosine, this is a subject I am well known for,…getting on me soap box about!

I dont have MS, but was wrongly diagnosed with it for many years, hence my membership of this forum. My condition is similar, incurable and right swine!

So i`ve had a chronic disability for 17 years now!

I have been through all the various stages that poor - none mobility brings.

I`ve been a full time wheelchair user for 12 years…my view is this;

if poor mobility causes, pain, falls, worsened fatigue, spoils a day out or keeps us house or bed bound, then why not accept the help a stick, walker or wheelchair?

Without these aids (and I am talking with personal experience), our lives would be much, much worse. Believe me, please!

And as for anyone looking at us and thinking negatively…well thats there problem.....NOT ours. I am sure they would rather see us out and about, getting some enjoyment out of life.

Another thing…if we do go out and hold everyone up, due to our slowness…that wont make us feel good, will it?

There now! Boudica has had yet another rant!



I’m full of sympathy - I felt terrible when I first used a stick two years ago at the age of 64! I resisted a walker until six months ago, as I felt so old, but the bottom line is you have to use what makes you feel safe, and keeps you as active as possible, plus you have to keep going put an doing things which as normal, even though you are doing them at quarter speed. I do wish people had more clue about what helps and what doesn’t though - struggling with heavy doors for example, while folk stand and watch is a right pain! The other thing is that a walker balances your weight better, so you aren’t listing to one side and creating pain in your hip or twisting your spine. Don’t worry about what folk think. They’re the ones who can wait!

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Well put Lynda!


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I started using a walking stick just a few weeks ago due to weakness and balance problems. Without it I walk like a member of John Cleese’s Ministry of Silly Walks! Initially I had a stick from the hospital but then bought a bright green one and am contemplating becoming a stickaholic and collecting a range of colours. It was hard at first because I didn’t want to give in and use a stick but the difference it has made is incredible.

I do understand how you feel though and had a similar experience when I was at university. I am deaf. In my final year I was given something called a radio aid to help me hear in lectures and seminars. I had to wear a black box with a loop around my neck and the speaker had to wear a transmitter. At the time I was very self conscious about being deaf and didn’t really want many people to know. So to use this equipment was a big thing for me. The first time I used it one of the other students arrived late so didn’t know about it. She saw the transmitter on the professor and said in shock “Professor! Why are you wearing a pacemaker?!” Lol! I never worried about wearing it again.

I hope one day you feel the same.


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HI Cosine

I too felt extremely embarrassed when I first used a stick. I bought a black folding one, hoping it would kind of blend into the background… and I’d fold it up and hide it in my bag until I got away from my work place!! Then I noticed how many people are out there using a stick - and I look at folk sometimes and wonder if they’ve got MS - but I digress. The thing is you’ll never be the only one using a stick and you will get used to it - and the benefits will far outweight and overcome the embarrassment. I’m very thankful that I don’t need my stick as much as I used to, but I’ve certainly got no hesitation in using it when I do need to. It’s a friend now - and helps me out on difficult days.

Hazel x

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I have several sticks now in jolly colours, plus a gold patterned one I call my bling stick, for occasion wear! If you’ve got it, flaunt it, is my motto. And sticks can be quite handy for yanking things nearer, pressing the touch pads on doors as you get near them, waving a thankyou to cars that slow down, etc. A fold up one fits in my walker so that I can load it into the car but then make my way safely to the driver’s seat. Go for it!

When I talked to a friend of mine about the possibility of me getting a stick, the first thing he said was, “you’ll be able to whack people with it!”

Not sure what that says about me

Hi Cosine,

I bought a black and white splodged folding stick to help me around the London Olympic stadium. Used it for support but also as a signal to people that I had a disability and people gave me their seats on trains, wide berth and asked if I needed help - i was allowed on the other side of the barrier to the ingoing crowd so I didn’t get knocked over.

Since then I haven’t used it much as I’m too embarrassed to use in front of friends, but the time will come.

Lots of lovely sticks available and the folding ones are extra useful.



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embarrassed to use your stick in front of friends, Jen?

I know those friends would much rather know you are safe and more comfortable with the stick, than without it and struggling.

The time will come when you feel less obvious…

much love Pollyxx

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Hi Cosine

I suppose that I’m lucky in the fact that I don’t think that I was ever embarrassed about using a stick.But I was embarrassed before I started using one, I would bump into people and they would be quite annoyed. I was once going through a barrier and I stepped on the ticket collectors foot and he gave such a look! But as soon as I started using a stick it completely different, if I bump in to someone THEY apologise!

I met a young man once, who had been in a car crash, who could have walked with sticks but felt that crutches looked more temporary and “younger”.

I got so used to using my stick/s that when my physio said it would be better for my posture to use crutches I resisted the idea. Last year I fell and injured my hip and had to use crutches and once I got use to them I found them much better than the sticks. I wouldn’t change back now, they are so much more stable and, because they stay hooked around your arm, you can go of them with out them falling on the floor. I always felt sticks made paying in shops such palarver, I was always dropping them or tripping people up!

Sorry I’m going on a bit aren’t I !!

I hope it’s all going okay for you, it just takes a bit of getting use to. xx

Hi, I had a variety of sticks and also resisted crutches, now I can’t do without them. Also seem to be using the rollator more and more. I hate the thing, i feel like a granny which i am but I know I am more stable using it. I think it’s only a matter of time before I have to contemplate the wheelchair, another barrier to overcome. This illness just keeps on stressing me out.

Mags xx


I started using a walking stick at the back end of last year. At first I was really conscious using it around people I knew.

But now it doesn’t bother me at all. I know with out my stick I probably wouldn’t be standing for long.

It also took me a few times using my wheelchair to accept that as well. I always felt guilty my family pushing me around. But without it I would have missed out on family things.

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hi cosine

thats a biggie- to stick or not to stick, is INDEED the question…

i use a crutch that i was given by hospital last year after my diagnosing relapse, and it helps so much with my balance and dizziness, but even at my age (41) i was embarrassed as i thought these were for much older people. as its a hospital crutch i still get ‘what have you done to yourself’, and i think my older 2 kids are still a bit embarrassed as they walk some way in front of me when we’re out.

the alternative, however, is that i walk like i’m half- cut, or worse still, no walking at all. i feel for you having to use a stick at 23 as thqt is young, but dont give yourself a hard time.treat it as your USP and be proud that your holding down parenthood and an education.

take care, fluffyollie x

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I wouldn’t be without my folding stick(s) now - got one in each bag I use, and one in the car just in case, and a few in the stand in the hall - I think I may be a stickaholic too!

When I get tired and/or too hot, my balance goes out the window and I walk like I’ve had several pints of ale. I’m OK(ish) on a level floor but get me outside on pavements, pot-holed road surfaces etc. and I weave and stagger all over the place. Getting between the car and the office, or going round the shops isn’t an issue, most of the people I work with are used to it now - and walking out of Taekwondo training using a stick is just plain funny, and has given all of us, self included a good laugh - usually at the expressions on the faces of people who see me (still in my TKD kit and walking with a stick).

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