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Thread: Walking aids? Advice please

  1. #1

    Walking aids? Advice please

    Hello everyone, I am new here and was wondering if someone could give me some advice about walking aids.
    I have chronic spasticity as a result of degeneration of spine, My gait in my doctors words is minor spastic. I find my gait quite annoying as when I walk I will walk in a kind of zig zag pattern (all the way to the to the left and then try to correct going all the way to the right) I have to concentrate on my feet as I don't want to fall its very stressful. I feel cautious when people are coming towards me on the path as I worry I may bump into them which has happened on several occasions. I also get pain all through my back and my left leg which goes very weak and shaky at times. My physiotherapist who I last saw 9 months ago mentioned using a walking stick and I straight away said no, as I felt very uncomfortable with the thought then. I am only 24 and I am really starting to think about using a walking stick now, and I am not sure whether I should or not, because I am worried about what other people would think of me and how I will cope with the change. I would be grateful for other peoples options as to whether you think its worth me getting a stick? and also I would be nice to hear other peoples stories on how you have coped starting mobility aids and how they helped.
    Many thanks
    Sam x

  2. #2
    sammy when i badly injured myself i was issued with 2 walking aids at around the age of 30 plus. was i bothered about who was looking? not really and at least they got me around.

    as for should you get one, this is a decision only you can make, don't worry about who is looking as they are more bothered with just getting on with things of their own.

    if you do get a walking aid then please make sure that you are shown how to use it properly as incorrect use could make matters worse and with you mentioning shakiness then do seek advice before doing any thing.

  3. #3
    I refused to use a walking aid or a wheelchair, then slowly I decided to use them, as I started to fall over breaking bones, and to be honest people do not bother with you they are to busy dealing with their own issues in life.

    Using a stick and how to do this and the size of stick go to your GP ask to have an appointment to see the Physio, and they will measure you and then tell you what and which stick to get, but it may be a crutch like stick which gives you a better stability.

    I know from what I went through falling on your face is not recommended and falling on your back can cause further damage .

    So back to the Physio department.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Lighttouch's Avatar
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    It's funny as you remind me of myself at your age. It doesn't seem very cool carrying or using a walking aid at your age.

    I had and have the same problem of not being able to walk in a straight line and I use an elbow crutch now!

    When walking down the high street in town you'd get the occasional bloke whispering 'pissed again' in passing. I just ignored comments.

    I notice you said you have a bad or painful back. I can help you here as nobody did when I was your age.

    You see one of your legs is mildly spastic. That leads to a 'slight shrinking' of your inner calf muscle that will raise your heel slightly higher. Over a long period of time your body will try to counteract this by raising your hip on one side. You'll notice this when your trouser length is several millimetres shorter on one side. Then your shoulders will counteract the 'out of alignment posture' as will your head.

    The god news is that there is an answer. Podiatary. Forget any cheap shoe infills from the chemist, forget the NHS. Book to see a private podiatrist who will look at your posture, how you walk and order a custom made shoe infill to throw your knee and leg outwards. It will prevent further curvature of the spine, aid walking and you'll have less pain.

    Walking aids. When I was married I used to walk holding hands with her - that's the best sort of walking aid.

    Failing that you might find an elbow crutch better but not the standard NHS ones as they are badly designed .

    A firm called Coopers supply pairs of crutches but get them with an Ergonomic grip to spread your weight. You'll only need to use one and it gives a visual que to people that you have a slight walking problem.

    People are very understanding and may offer help - if you don't need it say ' thanks, but I'm OK'. You'll actually make their day and make them feel good about themselves.

    It will also make you stand out from the crowd - someone with a story to tell. And you might even become a babe magnet. Be proud to be a disabled person as that's who you are.

  5. #5
    Hi I was the same didnt want to give in, but found i had to, i have hemiparisis had it since birth, i'd been good "disguising" my disability, but a walking stick is now great for me, i have a foldup stick wihich is great for me, as its great to get in n out of car etc, i paid over £20 for it but well worth it.

    good luck

  6. #6
    Senior Member susieboots's Avatar
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    You couldn't get better advice that what Light Touch has posted.

    Definitely get a Podiatary appointment

    I would imagine elbow crutches are the best thing for you rather than a walking stick.

    You will find, rather than someone saying "pissed again", they will be more mindful of walking around you.

    And as LT said, be proud of who you are!

  7. #7
    Senior Member flowerangelx's Avatar
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    As somebody who is 25 and goes between a walking stick and crutches, it is NOTHING to be ashamed of.

    After an accident I had to use a walking frame, then crutches & now it varies between those and a stick.

    It can be scary at such a young age..worrying about what other people think, but I think comfort and relieving the problem is a better idea.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Lighttouch's Avatar
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    It does make you realise how few disabled people are seen knocking around in genera.

    I think it usually takes about 40 seconds for someone to ask 'are you alright' when I get out of the car. I've become a regular at different coffee shops to such a degree the drink is being poured out as soon as they see me approaching. Staff are so helpful as I don't need to ask anyone for assistance as it just happens.

    Doors are flung open by a passer-by just seconds before I touch it. The customers ask if I need help with the tray. All I want to do is sit and read a paper then you get a complete stranger, usually a woman or three asking if they can join me. Being the sociable the that's fine by me.

    I have had two bad falls in the last month which involved head injuries but they are so common I don't really rate them as serious - they just look it.

    There's a lovely younger married helper at the cycling who always makes a bee-line for me when she sees me. She's very tactile shall we say.

    Being disabled has many drawbacks but I tend to see the better side of human nature when I'm out and about which is reassuring.

    Does anyone else discover the better side of human nature when out and about.

  9. #9
    Senior Member susieboots's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lighttouch View Post
    It does make you realise how few disabled people are seen knocking around in genera.

    I think it usually takes about 40 seconds for someone to ask 'are you alright' when I get out of the car. I've become a regular at different coffee shops to such a degree the drink is being poured out as soon as they see me approaching. Staff are so helpful as I don't need to ask anyone for assistance as it just happens.

    Doors are flung open by a passer-by just seconds before I touch it. The customers ask if I need help with the tray. All I want to do is sit and read a paper then you get a complete stranger, usually a woman or three asking if they can join me. Being the sociable the that's fine by me.

    I have had two bad falls in the last month which involved head injuries but they are so common I don't really rate them as serious - they just look it.

    There's a lovely younger married helper at the cycling who always makes a bee-line for me when she sees me. She's very tactile shall we say.

    Being disabled has many drawbacks but I tend to see the better side of human nature when I'm out and about which is reassuring.

    Does anyone else discover the better side of human nature when out and about.
    I definitely see the better side of human nature. Doors are held open for me. People see me with a stick and walk around me. When I am at a checkout, I invariably don't prop my stick securely when getting my purse out and it falls to the floor, someone is always there before I can attempt to pick it up.

    There is human kindness out there.

  10. #10
    Hi sammym2013 There is general information about walking aids in our factsheet-link below

    http://www.dlf.org.uk/factsheets/Cho..._sponsored.pdf

    Like any mobility equipment walking equipment such as crutches take time to accustom oneself to. There are accessories that you may find useful in the report below, including shock absorbing ferrules and moulded handgrips.

    http://www.dlf-data.org.uk/report_it...10ac8467c&view

    I would take heed of Lighttouch's comments and might add that public views of disability do change with events such as the Paralympics highlighting that people have individual needs. Most people will be inclined to help you if you take a fall. It is also sensible to plan journeys so as to avoid busy 'rush hours' on pavements, for example.

    You might want to view and try out equipment at a local Assist-UK centre- you can find yours here- http://www.assist-uk.org/centre-details (I am afraid the postcode search is currently being repaired )

    Hope this helps

    DLF Advisor
    Last edited by dlfteam; 09-24-2013 at 08:08 AM. Reason: typo

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