Using sticks!

Hi All x

I'm having a lot of trouble walking any distance! For example after my neuro appointment on Wednesday hubby & I went for lunch but by the time I'd walked a short distanc from the car park I was having to hold on to his arm for support! By the time we were walking back evreything was hurting from the chest down - even my head felt too heavy for my neck!! My feet were dragging and tripping on the pavements.

I used sticks after spinal injuries a good few years ago but was wondering if sticks would help me now?

I don't have any balance issues and my gait is not too bad until I've overdone it. 

How do you find using sticks or one stick? Does it help with what I've described? 

I want to get out & about but I'm afraid to without my husband there to lean on after the last few times.

Could a stick or sticks substitute my hubby??? 

I've got my old ones from 10 years ago in the garage - is there a particular way to use them that's best??


Hi Jen,

I don't use sticks, but you probably need an appointment with physiotherapy to explore whether these might help you.

I don't think it's a great idea to just start using them without guidance, becausing using an unsuitable aid, or even using a suitable one incorrectly, could lead to further problems.

I think you need to see someone and explain the problem, and see what they recommend for you.

It may be simply exercises aimed at improving balance and strength, without having to resort to sticks at all.


Hi Tina x

It's all the waiting to be honest! I want to go out - and I want to go now!!! lol x

They won't give me meds because they think there is more than one thing going on because of my enlarged pituitary - and the GP said that I had to see the neuro first - then I forgot to ask the neuro and endocrinologist if there was anything I could have to help me now!!

I thought maybe the sticks would help me go further in the meantime - perhaps by taking some of the weight off my legs and back - my arms are pretty strong x

I'm not seeing my GP for another 10 days & don't know how long it would be for a physio appointment Ewww! patience is a virtue!!! xxxjenxxx

hi jen

i use a shopping trolley, one of the square ones that you push in front of you, its been an absolute godsend, i cant carry bags so its fab for that but usually my feet and legs are hurting before i even get outside so i can lean on it and if i trip i use it to steady myself.  yes its old fashioned but when ive been out and about no one has commented on why i use it but when i went out the other day with my walking stick a few people asked me what was wrong and i was embarressed.    i felt a lot more pain and discomfort with the stick so i'm obviously not using it correctly.  the trolley has only two disadvantages, you need to take a bag of potatoes out with you so that you can lean on it because its too light otherwise and it doesnt have a brake which is a pain if you're going on the bus because you cant just park it somewhere and go to your seat you have to stay with it and stop it from rolling around the bus!   when i go to the supermarket i can pop the shopping basket on top and put all my shopping in there ready for the checkout and you cant do that with the pull behind you type.

mine is 3 sides black and one side tartan so ive turned the actual bag around so that the tartan bit is facing me. 

i didnt realise how much i needed it until i found that my wrists were quite sore because of the way i was leaning on it.

dont know if this helps but if not it may be helpful for someone else.

best wishes

mandy  xxx




I don't know (or rather, can't remember) anything about your financial situation, but if it's any help, a private appt. with a neuro-physio cost me £50, and was very comprehensive.  I don't know if £50 is feasible, if you don't want to wait for the NHS?  (I do understand why...)

There are not any meds for the kind of weakness you describe, even if you were diagnosed.  There's no pill that stops you going wobbly after overdoing it.

Obviously, one management technique is to plan so you don't overdo it in the first place! I know this might sound like giving in, but if you know X distance walk will be OK, but X+Y won't, you have to plan things so you walk only X, or at least so there's a rest before you walk Y.

Other than that, the recommended treatment is likely to be physio, which, as I say, you can skip the wait if you happen to have £50 to spare.

Try to get a neuro physio, though, not just any physio.  I'm assuming, for the moment, your issues ARE neurological, notwithstanding that we don't know the exact cause.  An ordinary physio won't necessarily understand that our bodies might not respond to our instructions in the expected way...or at all!  So it's important to get someone who's used to dealing with that!








Hi Jen

I agree with the posts that seeing a physio (or neurophysio) first is really the best option. However, like you, I'm waiting to see my Neuro to see if he will refer me.

In the meantime, I do use a stick, which I find really helpful, especially to lean on when in a shop.

On the advice of folk on here, I got one with a Fischer handle, as it spreads the weight over the palm of your hand; it's moulded to the right shape. You have to get a left-handed or right-handed one (or both) as obviously the shape of the handle is different for each hand. This makes it so much more supportive when leaning on it.

The other thing is to make sure you get the right height. I was told to measure from the floor to my wrist, and that would be the height that would be correct.

When you use just one stick you need to hold it in the hand opposite to the weak leg.

I've got two of these sticks, as when I first needed one it was my right leg that was the prob. I then had a flare-up which made my left leg the weakest, lol!  I only actually have one for going out, so I keep the spare in my bedroom for those night-time trips to the loo! I got mine on the internet, and it only took 3 days to come.

I do hope you get sorted Jen, but do go the physio route for long-term use of a stick, to ensure you're not doing any harm.

Take good care,

Bren x


I'm still waiting for further tests and MRI etc but when my symptoms were bad I needed a stick just to get around the house...and still use a stick outside some days. It is a case of - use a stick - or not go out. With a family and being a single parent, not going out is not always an option.

I use the stick to lean into and to help with my balance. I also tend to walk with my feet further apart than usual because it helps me balance.

I have use an old-fashioned wooden walking stick from a local charity shop and also a hiking pole. I prefer the hiking pole as it has a more comfy handle and doesn't feel as cumbersome. It also has a spring shock absorber at the bottom end. it is also height adjustable.

Hi Jen,

I went from one stick as a sort-of warning to others that I was not too stable, to needing one stick to walk, to using two sticks to walk (and now to two and FES). Note that I have dropped foot on the left leg.

At the "one stick to walk" stage, I was leaning heavily on the stick in my right hand, and putting a lot of weight on my right hip, in order to swing my left leg round and forward.  This was very much like the post from midnightmoon above. The local physio suggested I try two sticks.  This kept me much more upright, and made walking easier (but a touch slower), and eased the load on my hip.  The dropped foot still dragged.  There was a big down-side to this.  My wife has Parkinsons Disease, and if I have two sticks, she cannot hold my arm for her stability when walking.

With two sticks and FES, I can get along reasonably well.  The FES minimises the drag from the dropped foot. the remaining problem is that my knees are not as good as they were (say) a year ago. However, I can have all my weight on my legs - provided I don't try to walk at the same time.

I think that you need to spend some time figuring out exactly what your real problem is - and do it fast so that you can get professional help as quickly as possible.  Like: is your problem one of strength in your legs (which can be improved with the correct exercises), or of not being able to lift your feet properly (which could be the first sign of a dropped foot), and you have already said that it is not basic stability.  In the supermarket, if you hold the trolley with both hands, do your feet still drag?.  You have to look at the problem when you are not tired, as walking with difficulty can be very very exhausting, and it then gets much harder to compensate for your real problem.

If you can identify the problem yourself, then you can tell your Neuro, or GP, or MS Nurse, or Physio.  Then you have a good chance of getting your problem sorted, rather than the one they want to sort.  I have just had some "fun" with an orthotics person (private company under NHS contract) who is determined to make me fit their standard solution.