Hiking Poles

August 16, 2009

Today was a minor milestone; let’s call it a half-milestone. I purchased an assistive walking device. Brief history of my mobility:

I still walk, love to walk, and consider it a gift. I have tripped a lot but thankfully never hurt myself. In the last couple of years I’ve developed drop foot which is common for someone with MMD. This is why I sometimes trip; my feet just don’t have the pick-up and go like they used to.

You can go months without noticing you have less ability than you’re used to, often because the rest of your body is compensating. That’s why fatigue becomes an issue. For me, my thigh and calf muscles are working harder to compensate for the drop foot.

I’m going overseas next month to the 7th International Myotonic Dystrophy Consortium Meeting to present a portion of the research I’ve done on support groups for adults with chronic health conditions. I’m concerned about walking in unfamiliar areas and walking slowly. I just can’t move very fast. I know the MDA Office has a loan closet with available canes but I’ve heard from more than a few people that a trail hiking pole can be very helpful.

And now I’m the proud owner of a very lightweight hiking stick from REI. The cashier was curious about my purchasing only one. I guess real hikers are using them to trek at a faster pace?  Hopefully it will increase my walking security as well as ward off small pests.

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