Walking aids

Hi,
Just back from a lovely 3 day trip to London.
Lots of walking was involved just to get from A-B & I really struggled. I am now contemplating getting a walking stick :probing_cane: to help me.
I have just turned 40 & diagnosed last month with RRMS.
My concerns are 1) admitting I need help. 2) visibly disabled to anyone seeing me with my cane & 3) I will become too dependent on using it!
Point 1 & 2 are more about vanity I know but I am struggling to walk more than 200 meters.

When did you guys start using mobility aids?

I was about 38 when I did. I use a crutch every time I go out. I don’t use it if there are close walls nearby (so inside houses), but apart from that if I know I am going to travel any distance, I always have it. It’s a pain for many reasons, people constantly asking what’s wrong with “leg” when I don’t like speaking to strangers, and also limits what can do (walking the dog and picking up her “presents” is a military style operation).

I don’t care what I look like or what others think (try being a tall, fat valley boy with a man bun…the looks you get haha), so a crutch wasn’t going to really phase me that way. Also, I would rather be dependent on the crutch than end up lying in the bread stacks of a Farm Foods (this may or may not have happened to me :p) when the leg gives way (of which is a once daily thing for me these days).

If you are worried about the aesthetics of the stick place an eagle motif on the top of a purple cane, get a leopard print collared purple fur coat with some large, obnoxious gold chains, some platform shoes and large gold framed shades, (possibly a solitary gold tooth implanted). People will be more interested in what you have to offer them than be concerned with your look :stuck_out_tongue:

3 Likes

@swanjackal
Your reply is brilliant, I can’t walk in heels unfortunately (sketchers go walk, slip on shoes are my preferred footwear these days :roll_eyes:) I’m all for the rest though!
I’ll be the eccentric lady who walks about looking like a pimp :joy::rofl:
Thank you :blush:

1 Like

Pimp? I was just referring to the usual fashion sense of the ladies around here :stuck_out_tongue: haha

I’m the slip on king…I have no feeling in my left digits so to tie any knots is a palava. Which has been worrying when wearing jogging bottoms out in public…cannot go commando at any times :stuck_out_tongue:

1 Like

My apologies, I however like the thought of being the crazy lady who walks around like a pimp straight from the 1970’s! :joy:

The tie thing is a problem here too, I favour leggings though, can’t be bothered fighting with zips, buttons or drawstring fastenings.
Aprons at work are fun, I just loosely fasten them & hope for the best, no nice neat bows here :woman_facepalming:

Thank you again, you have really helped me to get over myself, if I need a stick :probing_cane: to help me get about then I need a stick!
Currently looking at a nice floral patterned one or mr tumble polka dots? :thinking: no boring walking sticks here………
may add a golden eagle? Not decided yet :rofl:

I totally get the “1:admitting the need for help” “2:visibility of disability” “3: becoming too dependent” I have experiences and opinions which I am happy to share!

1: By using a cane you will be able to keep moving and doing stuff. in my opinion it is vital to do as much as you can as long as you can. For a long time I did not want to use walking aids so I stayed in sat on my backside and missed loads of good stuff.
2: By being ‘more’ obvious/visible people might cut you more slack. What do you think when you see someone using a walking aid?
3: You are in charge so can set when you use any aid or not. I eventually worked out that my stick / rollator is more of an enabler than a limit.

I do regret not using some aids sooner, but it is a very personal choice. I wish you all the best and hope you are comfortable with whatever choices you make.
Mick

1 Like

As you say you are relapsing remitting you may find that you need to use a stick or another aid to come through a relapse. Embracing an aid will keep you moving and hopefully speed recovery. If reluctance to use an aid means you lose confidence, muscle tone and functionality. This will mean you will recover to a lower level than keeping going.
I was diagnosed because I had a major relapse with repeated falls. I had a walk I could eventually achieve using a stick. Then I used the stick held in front of me in case I stumbled. Then I carried it on my back in case I tired.

I use different aids according to what I am doing and how I am feeling. The most important aspect is to be out there doing things rather than worrying about how you appear to others. Doing less will only lead to a speedier decline.

1 Like

@crd
Thank you!
I have got over myself & purchased a walking a stick for bad days like today.
It’s collapsible so I can carry it around in my bag if not needed but there when I do.
As you said, I’m not doing myself any favours by being too vain to use aids to help my recovery from relapses.

@Mogace
I’ve bought one, thank you for your feedback.
Honestly think I just needed reminded of the bonus to using aids rather than focusing on the fact that I will be visibly disabled to people.
Who cares what people think. :blush:

1 Like

I was 46 when I 1st used a crutch - like you I was worried about how people would view me and the explanations that followed -still am!

But ive found i get more odd looks when im without a stick and im wobbling and propping myself up on walls etc - my friend told me i should have an empty wine bottle to carry when i havent got my stick on short distances

1 Like

@ACT1
That’s good advice, the police might even give you a lift home :rofl:

No one enjoys this moment, but most of us have been there. For me it was a matter of doing what I needed to do to get from A to B with minimum fuss or risk, and the time came when that meant a hiking pole. Or two. It was all a long time ago, and I cannot remember when exactly, but I do remember thinking that it was a good decision.

In terms of image and outward impression, anything that allows you to stand up straight and tall and look reasonably secure when walking will make you look less disabled (and alarming) than a person struggling along under her own steam, always looking a hair’s breadth from disaster.

1 Like

@alison100
Thank you :blush:
I bought myself a stick yesterday and now wish I’d done it sooner, my leg is really bad just now & while using the stick I can walk ‘normally’ we’re as without it I’m leaning to my left & limping on my right.
You’re right, I draw more attention trying to walk without it :see_no_evil:

Just accepting the fact that I needed help was holding me back, now Im looking at other things to help me, ordered a shampoo dispenser to save squeezing bottles (impossible on a bad day) & currently looking at shower stools :joy:

1 Like

One advantage of using a stick is that people don’t think that you’ve been drinking when you haven’t! My best is when I got out of the car at 8am to go into the doctors’ and because it was only 50m I thought I’d leave my stick. As I wandered about the carpark all stumbly because I didn’t have a stick for balance, this old dear looked at me with such an expression of horror I had to laugh! She clearly thought I had gotten out of the car after having driven drunk at 8am! :joy:

One of those times you wished it had been capture on video! I always take a stick with me now even when I didn’t think I need it… because ing 5 minutes I probably will! No shame. Be proud!

2 Likes

Agree. I have often regretted leaving the hiking poles in the car/house, and now take them with me, however short the planned excursion. Apart form anything else, it is useful to be given a wide berth on busy pavements, and sticks or poles are very good for that.

2 Likes

Hello Newbie2,

I always use a stick with a wrist-strap; it means I don’t drop the thing when I’m trying to take coins or keys from my pocket… show a bus pass… use a cash point etc.

I don’t usually need the stick indoors, but I never leave home without it.

Ben

3 Likes

Ahhh, the bendfits of staying upright far exceed the consquences of falling down. I bought a plain black walking stick had a wrist strap and fischer handle (fits very comfy in my palm), and a hanging gadget to keep stable when hanging on a shelf in shops etc. Graddaughter pimped it up with colourful stickers, stick on pearls (classy) and sparkly symbals. I find it much more cool than a head over heels stumble to the ground. Granddaughter calls it her own bespoke design to keep me safe…ahhh

3 Likes

I may have to do that to mine!
I’ve bought a blue metallic effect stick but it is very boring :roll_eyes:

Was talking with my Osteopath yesterday about falling.

Natural instinct is to put you hands out and possibly injure your hands, wrists and jar your elbows, shoulders, neck etc. I’ve only had 2 proper MS stumbles so far and each time, went into a roll. In younger days, I did martial arts and was taught how to do a Rolling Break Fall to the extent that it is still instinctive for me.

It can however be learned. Have a look at This Video - start at 2m40s. If you still have the flexibility to do some mat work, it is well worth attempting.

4 Likes

I’m with GCCK here. I fell a lot in my last relapse but since I did Judo when I was young I fall really well! Worth learning how to fall well ;o)