Update on my Foot Drop
Sixteen months ago I wrote about the Musmate, it helps me to walk so much further because it lifts my foot off the ground.
I still have MS and inevitably my walking ability has deteriorated albeit very slowly. At least the problem remains in my left leg, my right leg is still very reliable, phew! My left knee has shown a tendency to hyper extend for a long time, recently this has got much worse.
Hyperextension of the knee
The knee is a hinge joint, when it hyper extends the knee joint goes beyond the vertical and it tries to bend backwards, the wrong way. This tends to happen whenever I put weight through the knee typically when going up and down the stairs. When the knee bends the wrong way the joint has a nasty habit of locking. The only way to unlock it is to manually push the knee joint into a normal position. As I’m sure you can see when going down stairs there is a possibility of me falling. I’ve done it once and I don’t want to do it again.
So what has happened to my left leg?
My balance is now much worse and the hyper extension of my left knee is an aggravation. These days I have become a frequent faller, oh what fun. I cannot lift my left foot more than 1 or 2 cm off the ground whether I’m standing or sitting in a chair. My left ankle is very stiff. I can’t raise the front of my foot while keeping my ankle on the ground. I can still raise my heel and keep my toes on the ground but putting my heel back on the ground is a slow process.
One of the physiotherapists at the MS Therapy Centre at Halton has suggested that the hyper extending knee can be eased by using an ankle-foot orthosis (AFO). This is a device worn on the lower part of the leg and under the heel. It is designed to hold your foot and ankle in a straightened position, to improve your walking. I have been measured up, I will have an appointment at a local hospital. I’m not too sure what to expect.
Up and down the stairs
The most obvious side effect of the MS is that I move much more slowly because the muscles are stiffer and my poor balance does not help. When my leg muscles are tired I have to go up the stairs one at a time, this is very tedious and time consuming. The occupational therapist came round and arranged for banisters on the wall of the staircase. So now there is something for both hands to hold onto, this really helps me getting up and down the stairs. The consequences are that I cannot carry things up and down the stairs! Not too sure if this a benefit or not.
Sometimes I keep going backwards until I fall over
My most useful aid in the house is a rollator. I can walk forwards, turn a corner, even go backwards and there is always something stable to help me stay upright. Without the rollator the hardest thing is trying to turn around or take a step backwards. Sometimes I take a step back and keep going backwards until I fall over, hit a wall or someone stops me – yes it really can be quite alarming. It is vital that I can hold on to something that cannot move with me unless its the rollator. The hot weather does not do me any favours either.
So long as I sitting down or leaning against a wall or anything else that won’t move then I’m fine, its just moving around. If I have been sitting for too long then it can be difficult to stand up and get going, its called stiffness.
Funny thing, I have not met anyone else who wears a Musmate and I have not met anyone else who has a hyper extending knee. The Musmate is really a big help if you have footdrop and someone else must have a hyper extending knee. If you have either of these then please get in touch with me. I want to find out if Musmate helps you or the problems you have with a hyper extending knee.