Osteoarthritis and walking stick vs crutches


I've recently been told that I most probably have osteoarthritis in an ankle, knee on the opposite side, wrists and a couple of finger joints. The pain I am feeling is being made worse by probable fibromyalgia.

For the last few months I have been using a walking stick as my ankle deteriorated and the pain increased I felt unstable and it was making my knee worse on the opposite leg as I was walking strangely on my ankle. GP and physio agreed that it may help to use a walking stick on worse days but no further help or advice was given. All my physio has been remote because of covid but I have seen my GP face to face.

So now I have an issue that my knee keeps painfully giving way when I'm walking but if I use my walking stick for that side then my ankle is very painful on the other side.

I am considering crutches but I've never used them long term.

Has anyone experienced this, joint issues on both sides and needing support with both?

Feeling very left to it at the moment, I know the covid situation isn't helping but the NHS help is minimal at best. (I do know they are doing their best in a difficult situation though)


  • Chris_R
    Chris_R Moderator Posts: 472
    edited 20. Aug 2021, 18:44

    Hi @Hthr

    Welcome to the on line community.You say you have been diagnosed with Osteoarthritis and are suffering with complications walking making the opposite side painful as well.

    Here are some links that may help

    Osteoarthritis (OA) | Causes, symptoms, treatments (versusarthritis.org)

    Osteoarthritis | Walk with Ease UK (versusarthritis.org)

    Managing your pain | Treatments and self-help (versusarthritis.org).

    Hope this helps Please keep in touch and tell us how you get on,and do go on to our forums and chat to others

    All the best Christine

  • Mike1
    Mike1 Member Posts: 1,992

    I had to stop using walking sticks as the arthritis in my hands was too bad so I switched to elbow crutches with shaped hand grips and a hinged cuff. They made it easier to hobble around as I only had to rest my hands on the grips instead of hold them, plus when I had to stop and have a rest the cuffs would rotate so I could lean on them. I still use them to get around my bungalow and a motorised wheelchair elsewhere.

  • N1gel
    N1gel Member Posts: 118

    No substitute for professional advice but I was given elbow crutches 20 years ago to help with stability for an unrelated condition.

    You might find (as I did) that human nature being what it is; you end up doing most of your weight bearing through your arms. I now have Osteoarthritis in my left elbow and a whole range of problems in both arms, in fairness I was being pretty active (walking the dog x country etc).

    If you are going to be active I'd recommend shaped or padded hand grips and certainly shock absorbing ferrules; also investing in the best crutches you can afford. I got some custom made crutches from the US and persuaded an employer to fund them under 'Access to Work'

  • crinkly
    crinkly Member Posts: 91

    With widespread OA sticks are a no-no for me too. Like others, after trying NHS issue crutches and finding them less than ideal I researched alternative walking aids and settled for adjustable crutches that incorporate forearm weight-bearing. These are not inexpensive but my investment has proved worthwhile as they are much easier on upper limb joints than anything else I've tried. I keep them in the car for use on occasions when the walking distance required is greater than my pain tolerance levels. (For longer distances I use a battery-powered wheelchair - easier on upper limbs that a scooter and easy to manoeuvre in small spaces.)

    It may take some time to discover the best solution for yourself but only you understand fully your particular issues so it would be difficult for any medic/therapist to give definitive advice. What the NHS can supply is very limited so look at every aid on the market, try as many different ones as you can (at both a NHS disabled living centre and/or a large commercial store with showroom where qualified advice on use is available) so you can make an informed choice.

    When you find your ideal solution - enjoy the extra freedom, however much of a compromise it seems.

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