When is it time to use a walking stick?

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Nellyphant
Nellyphant Member Posts: 27
edited 30. Jan 2011, 04:37 in Living with Arthritis archive
I'm in sooooo much pain that I borrowed a friend's walking stick today only I think it made me worse. She gave me a lesson on how to use it properly too. I have OA in both my knees but the left is worse so I used the stick to compensate for that. BUT I'm waiting to see the Rheumy next week to confirm my theory of OA in both my hips (and fibromyalgia). I have a swollen left side around my pelvis too. As both sides of me hurt and I have muscle pain with the fibro a stick seemed to make me hurt more but I'd like some thoughts on this please.

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  • tjt6768
    tjt6768 Member Posts: 12,170
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    It may be the case that two sticks may be better for you, is there any chance of an occupational therapist appointment being an option..?
    Or even a physio...?

    Best of luck from another knee sufferer :grin:
    e050.gifMe-Tony
    n035.gifRa-1996 -2013 RIP...
    k040.gif
    Cleo - 1996 to 2011. RIP
  • Nellyphant
    Nellyphant Member Posts: 27
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    I've been referred to physio for the fibromyalgia but haven't heard anything yet. I won't get the definite answer re hips until a week tomorrow and there was nothing to my GP about them when I got a copy of the letter the Rheumy sent to GP. I'm hanging on to see what happens next week.

    You're right, I do probably need 2. Some days I'm not too bad and others ......................
  • tjt6768
    tjt6768 Member Posts: 12,170
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    I have been lucky (not exactly the right word, lol) in that myright knee hasn't bothered me too much in the past God knows how many years unlike my left one, until about a yr and a ha;f ago, now they are both pretty bad, I still only have one walking stick which I am too stubborn to use unless I really have to, hoping it won't come to having duelling sticks, lol

    Got an orthopeadic triage appointment on 31st, some jumped up little spotty physio then decides if I am worthy of seeing a specialist.. I am quite sure at the minimum I need a double arthroscopy... :roll: :roll:

    Best of luck with the upcoming appointments :grin:
    e050.gifMe-Tony
    n035.gifRa-1996 -2013 RIP...
    k040.gif
    Cleo - 1996 to 2011. RIP
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Both my knees are affected so for me it's two elbow crutches. I use them alternately (so effectively I walk like a four-legged animal, well, I am a four-legged animal!) ie, right leg and left crutch forward, then left leg and right crutch forward. This spreads the load as the opposite arms and shoulder are taking the strain from the lower limb - I say taking the strain, that is probably not quite the right term. My crutches offer support and stability, they give me confidence in my balance but I do not rest all my considerable weight on them, that's far too tiring for the hands etc. I also try to ensure that I do not stoop, as that can affect my neck and shoulders too. It takes a little bit of practice, and while they do not remove the pain of walking in any way, shape or form, they do help me to feel more confident and thus able to do it. I do have two NHS pine sticks for best, but I don't like using them: they do not offer any where near the support of the crutches.

    As to when it's the right time, well, only you can determine that. I wish you well. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 29,493
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi Nelly

    good to meet you.

    I use my stick when l have to too. sometimes you just have no choice and for sure I know :lol:

    I think it is something you ought to get referred for if you can to a physio as another girl on here with fibro uses elbow crutches like DD and you could as you quite rightly suggest - make things worse :smile:

    Good luck

    Toni xx
  • jillyb1
    jillyb1 Member Posts: 1,725
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    I agree with DD ; only you know when it's time to get the sticks on board , but maybe as you're thinking of it perhaps it IS time ! Suggest you phone for an OT appointment though and get some guidance on what would suit you best . Jillyb
  • Nellyphant
    Nellyphant Member Posts: 27
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Thanks everyone. I just seem to have gone downhill really quickly which is really frustrating.
  • julie47
    julie47 Member Posts: 6,041
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi Nelly
    don't know if we have met yet but welcome anyway

    good luck with the rhummy app and i hope the ot can sort you out with the right stick(s) to make it easier for you
    take care
    juliepf x
  • woodbine
    woodbine Member Posts: 140
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi,

    I find that a stick is very helpfuk if i'm walking anywhere steep or with lits of steps, or a longish distance, but for short trip it doesn't make much difference. (I have OA in both knees and lumbar spine). I've found that the ones with upside-down L shaped handles hurt my hands (OA in thumb too!), so have straight ones with vertical handles. (sprung ones)

    My GP wouldn't send me to an Occ Therapist - thought it unnecessary, but I found out that if you ring your local Social Services you can refer yourself to the community OT's - which turned out to be in the hospital outpatients dept anyway! I had 3 appointments, and they were full of excellent advice and some helpful freebies like grippers for jar tops- it's well worth giving them a ring. Good luck! :smile:

    Naomi
  • speedalong
    speedalong Member Posts: 3,315
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi Nelly and welcome, you have been offered lots of great advice already. Use any tool that makes life easier and if that is one or two walking sticks, then don't hesitate.

    If the wait is too long for being assessed via a physio, make sure you buy adjustable ones and follow guidance for having the right height.
    "To measure the height of walking sticks, quad sticks and tripods, the base of the stick should be placed approximately 15cm from the outside of the foot and the handle height should be set at the wrist crease height. The elbow should be bent slightly (generally between 15 and 30 degrees) when holding the stick and standing upright.
    Walking sticks are usually used on the unaffected or strongest side of the body but this may depend on individual preference and abilities. The stick should be placed forward at the same time as the affected leg and then the unaffected leg follows.
    If using two sticks at the same time, a four-point gait may be used by bringing one stick forward, then the opposite leg, then the other stick, followed by the other opposite leg." http://www.sa.gov.au/

    Speedy
    I have had OA since mid twenties. It affects my hips and knees. I had a THR on the left aged 30 and now have a resurface-replacement on the right - done May 2010.
  • bubbles
    bubbles Member Posts: 6,508
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    I am with DD on this one, I have two elbow crutches, but tend to use only one, unless I am in a total pickle. I started off with a stick, but I found that put too much pressure on my wrist and arm, setting off cervical problems. I have found the elbow crutches far better, you can lean into them more and rest on the flip down bit that goes round your lower arm.
    It is about 3 years since I had sticks and a year since the elbow crutches. I use them all the time when out of doors, as I hold onto things round the house and know my way around. Oh has to watch me with my crutches though, they don't stop you stumbling on uneven ground or kerbs.

    Hope you get to see the physio and OT as soon as. Take care XXXX Bubbles
    XX Aidan (still known as Bubbles).
  • Pherstun
    Pherstun Member Posts: 96
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    For me there wasn't any argument about when to start using one - if I walk normally (ie full stride) and without any support I get occasional stabbing pains in my hips that feels like someone's put a red hot knife in me that takes my breath away and stops me dead.

    I started off using one that I got to take a camera as well but have bought a pair of sticks with shaped cork handles. I can potter around the office or home okay without them but if I walk anywhere outdoors I have to use both. I also have problems with my knees (mainly left) and my feet (mainly right) so as you can imagine I hobble on both sides!

    I have an ankle support on my right all the time and I use this stuff called cohesive bandage to lightly wrap the base of my left foot and part of my right (works wonders to stop them aching!). If I go any distance or know I'm going to be standing up I also put knee supports on both knees.

    You'll just know when the time is right... Since you're asking about it, I suspect the time is now. :???:

    Debbie