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When is it time for a stick?

Hi Folks Just saw another lady mention getting her zimmer frame so instead of hijacking her thread I thought I would just ask those who have mobility problems etc. I dont go out much at all any more alone as my legs feel so heavy after a short while and spasms can be bit embarassing in preventing me walking properly not to mention worrying about triping due to the drop foot :cry: I have a stick BUT cant bring myself to use it just yet. I feel like im giving in to this bloody disease if I do! Did anyone else feel like this? I aslo have Hypermobility which makes using my stick a bit difficult as my loose joints cause my elbow to swivel and hurt after using the stick for a short while. Is that just me or is it normal when first using the stick? A load of silly questions really but just thought I would ask and perhaps you might have some tips for easy use of a walking stick? Kat

For me, my walking stick IS me fighting back! I don’t feel safe without it, so if I didn’t use it, I wouldn’t walk outside - which is letting my MS win. No way! I also have hypermobility so I understand what you mean by your elbows (my main problem is my knees though). It sounds like you might have your stick at the wrong height: make sure it is coming to the lines on your wrist when you are standing with your arms by your side. Any higher and your elbows will be too bent, which will make them swing more easily. Any lower and it will make you lean which will put more pressure on your elbows, hyperextend them and make them more likely to suddenly switch direction. It’s very important that you have a very stable stick. Any looseness in the joints where the stick extends will add to the pressure on your elbows. If you can move your stick at the joints, then it’s not good enough for you. Also, try and get yourself a stick with a Fischer handle. They aren’t as pretty as some you can buy on the internet, but they are absolutely brilliant at spreading the weight across the palm of your hand which might help to take some pressure off your elbows too. One last thing: I recommend you go and see a neurophysio for a lesson on how to use your stick. Your GP can refer you, if you don’t already have one. They can usually give you a suitable stick too. Hth :slight_smile: Karen x

Hi Karen Many thanks for the response and for the valuable advice. I am waiting for an appointment with physio once again so shall take stick with me. Kat x

Stick, elbow crutch, rollator (4 wheeled with seat so you can sit when necessary) - whatever the aid doesn’t matter too much. The crucial thing is to try to hold onto the mobility and walking that you have. It was said to me a few years ago “use it or lose it”. I now realise the value of that one piece of advice.

Hi Kat I was given my first one by the physio and absolutely hated it. But she did show me how to use it properly and how to make sure it’s the right height for me which is very important. Don’t forget though, that even if you have a stick, you don’t have to use it every time. There were days when I didn’t need mine, and days when I couldn’t get going without it when poor balance or foot drop or fatigue kicks in. So get one that folds away so it’s there if you find while you’re out that it’d make things easier. I still hate mine but falling over in the high street is far more embarrassing!

Hi Karen has made an excellent point about mobility aids enabling us not to give in to the MS. I think all of us struggle to come to terms with needing help to do what we used to take for granted. But I’m bggr*d id I am going to let the MS stop me doing things and if that means using an aid then so be it. I would ask your doctor/MS nurse for a physio referral to make sure you are given the right aid with useful advice about using it! Good Luck!

I agree with other posters who say that using the mobility aids you need is the opposite of giving in - it’s taking back control. If I have to walk any distance I use a hiking pole - it is massively liberating and means I can walk like a normal person, pretty much, with far less fear of tripping, and it is amazing at clearing a space through a crowd. By which I mean that people just automatically give me a bit of space, not that I brandish it at them in a threatening manner… Give it a go. Once you get over the emotional hurdle, it is real help. Alison x.

In addition to the good advice already received, take a look at an FES for those tricky dropped foot issues. They can prevent nasty trips and help build muscle strength over time. Check them out at odstockmedical.com. Magnesium might help with spasms and is worth trying.

Hi there! Well I think if using any mobility aid reduces the risk of falls/injury, then it is common sense to use it. Ive been at several crossroads on my MS journey, where it has become necessary to accept the fact that I cant manage without some kind of aid/assistance. I prefer not to see this as giving in…I see it as accepting the inevitable and finding ways to help me do that. If I hadnt used any of my precious aids, I would be bed/housebound, instead being able to join in, or do things I wouldve missed out on. The crossroads I am currently facing is needing to be hoisted, as my legs, arms, back are so weak now. Good luck to you. luv Pollx

Hi. I got my stick when I felt ‘wobbly’ and was always grabbing hold of a wall or anything to my side to hold me up. I soon felt a bit more secure and safe. About your dropped foot. I have just got a ‘foot up’ from my physio. I didn’t see a doctor first, it was an OT that referred me, and I only saw the OT because she was doing a survey on fatigue management, and she wanted my help! The foot up has been great. After only a week of wearing it I felt lost without it. The physio has also given me a tri walker which gives a lot more stability than a stick, but a rollator with a seat would be better, so you can have a rest. You don’t put on as much pressure as a stick so this might be easier on your joints. Hope this helps Lynne x

[size=150]I’m also in the ‘My choice!’ camp. I own a stick and as The Doctor would say “sticks are cool!” :sunglasses: Given the choice between not going to post a letter in the box on the corner ever as I’ll fall over, or my legs will fail me, or the tremors will start and some nice person will have to walk me home :oops: or taking 20 minutes there and back with a stick - Give me the stick, give me the rolator; when time comes (and may it be many years away!) give me the wheelchair an I’ll do it! Also helps that people don’t look and think - “Drunk! At this time of day! Well really!” Clarexx[/size]

Well just realised it was less than a year ago I asked about the stick and now my heavy wobbly legs have got worse and we are looking at a wheelchair now for days out etc to conserve energy and try to prevent fatigue when out walking.

I am shocked by the progression of this disease and still battling to come to terms with it. My legs feel so heavy all the time now and wont do as much as they used to like lifting when i tell them to so I can get up the stairs to bed or to fetch something.

MS Nurse has given me Baclofen to help with the leg spasms of an evening time but im like a zombie the next day and feel even weaker than usual so useless to anyone! I bought an exercise bike to try and help maintain some strength in the legs but found it would just fatigue me and make legs feel heavier for the rest of the day… Just feel I cant win at the moment…lol

Hope you guys are all doing okay

x

Couldn’t agree more with the folks who say anything that keeps you mobile is a positive thing. That said, it is a public admission that there is a problem, and I can identify with you feeling uncomforatble with that. I’ve only just statred carrying a fold away stick (nice shiny blue one!) in my bag, and at the moment I couldn’t go anywhere without it, so have had to accept it as part of the current package.

Gxxx

I have a fold up stick and put that in my bag when I feel wobbly, Gilly. My problem is when I am walking the dog - I find the dog and the stick too awkward to manage at the same time so have to just risk the wobbles and take it carefully - I am more likely to fall over the stick in that situation!. Thank goodness I don’t feel too unbalanced most days, just the odd bad day.

I use borrowed crutches I had no choice only 34 used them at 33 had a gp who was useless back then and legs giving way then I lost my balance so was not safe. I only go out when I go hospital now cause I’m scared of falls and won’t risk using public transport.

Hi Kat, I was like you a bit fearful of using a stick but now I am never without it. I do get a few stares but who cares if it stops you from falling over. My problem is I now think I need a rollator. I have tried it in the house and it is brill. I just need to go and use it outside and I am not sure how it will go down at work. I am determined I am going to stay mobile for as long as I can and if that means a few embarrassing moments so be it. ( she says bravely) Mags xx

I have posted this lots of times before so forgive me if you are reading it yet again. It is the wise words of my daughter when I was reluctant to use a stick “Mum, it’s not the stick that makes you look disabled, it’s your legs. Not using it is fooling no one” Jane