I was reading some stuff on the internet the other day and came across some old wives tales. One that really interested me was: “You shouldn’t jog. It jumbles up your insides.” Ah ha! Finally one that makes sense!
Problems with walking are among the most common mobility limitations in MS. Walking problems are related to several causes. Muscle weakness can cause problems such as toe drag, foot drop, “vaulting” (a compensatory technique that involves raising the heel on the stronger leg to make it easier to swing the weaker leg through), compensatory hip hike, trunk lean, or swinging the leg out to the side. Muscle tightness or spasticity can also interfere with walking. Balance problems often cause patients to sway and have a “drunken” type of walk known as ataxia. Some people with MS have such severe numbness in their feet that they cannot feel the floor or know where their feet are. This is referred to as a sensory ataxia. Many people will experience increased walking problems when fatigue increases.
According to the MS site, most walking problems can be helped to some extent by physical therapy (including exercises and gait training), the use of appropriate assistive devices and, in some cases, medications. I don’t necessarily agree with that statement. I have had physical therapy, have a walker and a cane and take medication. Sometimes I still have a problem walking and still fall more than I want to.
My physical therapy made me aware of turning correctly, going up and down stairs and such. It did not keep me from falling. The cane and walker help when I am grossly off-balance, but I still “fall over them” sometimes. The medications I take usually cause me to want to sit in the chair and watch TV or read. This actually DOES keep me from falling, but only because I am not walking!
The best answer to falling is to always be careful and take it slow and easy. That probably seems like a stupid statement to some people. For those of us still trying to “be normal”, it might cause us to think before we do something we know we shouldn’t.Actually, most of us MSers know we should not jog. It may not jumble up our insides, but it is a pretty sure bet it will jumble up our face when we hit the floor!