Newly diagnosed - advice needed please

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pinkdragon
pinkdragon Member Posts: 3
edited 12. Jun 2014, 16:52 in Living with Arthritis archive
Hello everybody! Just been diagnosed this week with moderate osteoarthritis in my knee. Most days I'm having to use crutches as I can't walk without pain (stairs are particularly interesting to climb!), and getting in the shower has now become a nightmare. We have a shower over the bath, and I just cannot lift my leg up to get into the bath any longer. I was wondering if anyone has suggestions what I can do to help the situation or if there maybe any grants available to have the bath removed and a shower tray put in? Any suggestions would be most welcome :)

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  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hello, it's nice to meet you but I am sorry you have had to find us. I have OA in multiple leg joints (thanks to the joint damage caused by my other arthritis) and can empathise with the difficulty you are facing; I do stairs like a three year old and have done for years but so what? I get there in the end :wink: and sometimes it's easier to come down backwards. The mantra is 'Good leg to heaven (when ascending) and bad leg to hell (when descending). I too find it difficult to climb into the bath (our shower is over it) but I manage.

    If you wish to access grants etc. then it may be best for you to get in touch with your local Social Services. They can come out and do an assessment of what you need and, hopefully, supply it. I was granted new hand rails for the stairs in our old house, a raised toilet seat and a bath board (which I never used because my knees wouldn't bend far enough). I hope they can help you and I wish you well. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,731
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hello pinkdragon and welcome to the forum. As you have discovered, arthritis does bring out our powers of ingenuity :) I've had RA, and consequently OA, for many years now. Stairs are always a problem for knees. Like DD I used to go up one step at a time clinging to the banister rails (and fearing I'd pull them off :lol: until we moved to a bungalow.

    Yes, an Occupational Therapist will come and assess your needs. Depending on your local authority, they usually provide small stuff eg grabber sticks and raised toilet seats but will require some input from you for anything major.

    You might get some ideas here too.http://www.arthritiscare.org.uk/PublicationsandResources/Listedbysubject
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • hileena111
    hileena111 Member Posts: 7,099
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi pinkdragon
    I haven't got OA in my knee but in hips and ankles.
    I have a 2nd hand rail for going upstairs that the OT put on.
    Its difficult with crutches......I was told {after my THR and then a fracture in that hip} that I was better not using crutches on the stairs. Have one at the bottom and one at the top if possible.
    As for the bath.....I couldn't swing my leg over the bath either but I have a bath board....OT will give you one no probs :) So its a matter of sitting down on it and I can get my legs over from a sitting position. I can now manage to get into the bath and up onto the bath board again to get out. For a long time it was just the bath board and we have a hand shower over the bath...I used that as well.
    Going upstairs....back to that again :wink: If you use one crutch to go upstairs, use it on the opposite side to the bad knee.
    Put your good leg up first, then your bad onto the same step and then the stick. Remember George Bernard Shaw.......GOOD BAD AND STICK :lol: For my first hip replacement I was told.....GOOD leg goes to heaven and the BAD leg goes to hell....works the same as GBS :lol: They had to stop saying that because it offended some people :o They are easy offended :lol:
    Hope some of that makes sense
    I'm sure you could get a grant but I don't know how or where and the bath board would be a lot quicker as would the hand rail.

    Love
    Hileena
  • celebrationb
    celebrationb Member Posts: 134
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi I have oa in my left knee and trapped fermol nerve in same leg. I have been getting worse and try red krill oil at the moment with my naproxen but no change at the moment. I have just got a walking stick which am not happy using but will have to. I also try to keep active but thats getting harder and harder. Feeling up and down all the time sometimes i feel that i can fight it but other times i dont.
  • hileena111
    hileena111 Member Posts: 7,099
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi
    You use a walking stick if it helps if not a crutch might be better
    There are a few of us use crutches rather than a stick because we get more support.....I know ....we think its a backward step....but you'll be more active with it than without......look at it as a "coping mechanism" letting you do things you wouldn't otherwise be able to do.
    Love
    Hileena
  • celebrationb
    celebrationb Member Posts: 134
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Thank you hileena111 . That's sounds better. It was hard to decide to get one but I was using a hiking stick for a while. I thought i could fight this but its been harder than I thought. Making changes
  • Starburst
    Starburst Member Posts: 2,546
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hello and welcome!

    I am another one who prefers a crutch to a walking stick. I need the extra support of the arm part and I can mentally cope with a crutch at 26 y/old rather than a stick.

    You can uprobably contact your local services directly. Have a look at your local council's website. There will most likely to be one direct number to contact and ask your questions. Depending on the area and their resources, you may not be entitled to as much as other people. Unfortunately, it is a postcode lottery but IMO, if you don't ask, you don't get!

    I hope you find this place supportive and helpful. :)
  • pinkdragon
    pinkdragon Member Posts: 3
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Thank you all for such a warm welcome! And many thanks also for all your advice and suggestions. What a resourceful lot you are! I have tried a walking stick, but find I can't get much support from it and end up limping which in turn makes my hip and back ache. I'm finding it difficult shopping though as I can't carry bags while using crutches - so many things become difficult with oa but you're such an ingenious group here and I'm sure you have ways round this too!

    Great ideas about getting up and downstairs too, I shall remember the "good leg heaven and bad leg hell" dreamdaisy, it's too funny to forget. I'd love a bungalow stickywicket, not sure we can afford to move at the moment but something for the not too distant future I hope. We don't have a bannister, I had it taken away when we first moved into our house in the mid 80's. I never dreamed I'd need it. I hang onto the walls for dear life at the moment but now hoping I can get an OT to put me one on like hileena has done. I'm waiting to see the OT so will definitely ask about a bath board and maybe a little half step to help get into the bath.(Do they do them?)

    I have to see the orthopaedic surgeon again next month at his "special interest" clinic (Was upset to find out this didn't make me special or interesting :lol: ) so will see what he has planned for me. The leg which affects me mostly also has sciatica so I'm wondering if one triggers the other. I also think I have oa in my neck and shoulder but having more x-rays soon so will find out. In the meantime I'll definitely look at the council website (thankyou starburst) and see what help can be had. Think I shall go George Bernard Shaw up to bed for now :D Thank you all again, what lovely people you all are x
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Life with crutches is more supportive but awkward; there are, however, ways around the awkwardness. If I am going 'fun' shopping then I take my rollator with me because I can hang bags from its handles (or that plus my marital Sherpa :wink: ) plus rest on its seat when it all gets too much. Food shopping is easier - I now do the bulk of it on-line and some lovely men deliver it to me, the in-between top-ups can be done with ease using a little trolley for support. I had to move to on-line food shopping when I broke my left upper humerus in January and I don't know why I didn't do it before , :roll: stubbornness I guess. All handbags are now cross-body ones and all shoes sensible in that they better support my feet. All skirts are worn ankle-length so when things are really tough the fact I am knickerless is not apparent. (Don't want a VPL? Don't wear any. :wink: )

    You'll find your way around the problems, of that I am sure. It's time to be practical and not push oneself so hard that things worsen quicker. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,731
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Crikey, you have guts if you tackle the stairs without a banister :o Sorting that out would be my first priority.

    As for the bath / shower, if you had a chair or stool at the side, could you sit on it to swing your legs in? It sounds a bit safer than a small step though you can buy these in DIY stores. I sometimes use one to get into my son's Jeep but sometimes I just use and 8-pack of beer :lol:

    I've never been able to use a stick as my hands and wrists are rubbish but I'm fairly sure you're not supposed to use them for support only to balance and steady yourself. And they should be exactly the right height for you, held in the opposite hand to the dodgy leg and brought forward at the same time as it.

    An Occupational Therapist will advise on all these things.
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • hileena111
    hileena111 Member Posts: 7,099
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi Again
    I've been away for 5 days and am just catching up with the posts.
    Glad you found the "good leg to heaven and bad one to hell" funny... :lol: I did when the OT first told me :lol:
    Shopping......Main shopping my hubby does that for me, if that's not possible do it online..... Little bits and pieces of shopping....well I have a 4 wheel rollator as well and find that is better. I hang bags on the handles and then balance them on the seat.....I don't use the seat :wink:
    At the moment I cant use that.....I fractured a bone... the greater trochanter bone {close to the hip replacement} when I try to use it I have to lean so heavily on one arm it is really sore.....2 crutches are better for the minute anyway. I have a pink and black pair....makes me feel a bit better than grey ones.
    I don't do much shopping except "fun shopping" I think it was DD said that?? I put a small back pack on or a slightly bigger rucksack if I think I might have a few more things. Apart from that, bags are cross over bags....no longer on one shoulder :wink:
    One other thing.....when shopping I have a small pouch/purse. Bought it years ago in the gym.....What's a gym :lol::lol::lol:
    Hubby put a cable tie at the top of the handle of the crutch and a large clip onto the pouch. That clips onto the cable tie.
    In that I carry my mobile, cash card, Superdrug card, Boots card and of course Costa card :wink: tissues, lipstick and mirror.....its like a little tardas :lol: doesn't look big but holds a lot. That means that things are handy to reach eg if the mobile rings, I don't have to stop, prop the crutches somewhere, get the rucksack off and look for mobile.
    I do have a few things in the rucksack as well but the more immediate things are in that.
    Hope you get some ideas from the posts. I know I do.
    Love
    Hileena