I had a physical therapist that tried to convince me (unsuccessfully) that canes and walkers were created for the sole purpose of luring disabled people into a false sense of security so that they would die. She was able to convince my fiance that this was true. She also convinced my fiance that if I kept using canes I must be suicidal. Subsequently my fiance hid all of my canes, making me bedridden.
As a result I made it clear that she was not to return. My fiancé eventually gave me back my canes thereby allowing me to get out of bed, but she's still threatening to leave me and take my daughter. She even took her engagement ring off, because this physical therapist, that obviously got her certificate out of a crackerjack box, convinced her that if I keep insisting on using a cane or walker I must be suicidal. Is there any reading material I can supply my fiance with to show her that this woman was a crackpot? Thank you in advance.
Oh my, that is quite a story. Setting the story aside, here is my advice on walking aids:
- Canes should be used by people with MS who have mild balance problems and need to support less than 25% of their weight with their upper body and the arm holding the cane. The cane is held by the arm that is opposite the weak or weaker leg. I do not advise using two canes if greater upper body support is required. If your balance is okay but you need more upper body support to walk because of moderately severe leg weakness, you can consider bilateral forearm crutches called Lofstrand crutches.
- For patients who need to support up to 50% of their weight with their upper body and have significantly impaired balance, I recommend a 4 wheeled rollator type walker (with brakes and a seat). Their are many varieties and your therapist can advise you further. I never advise the use of a peg leg walker (no wheels) in MS patients.
In my experience people with MS often wait too long to begin using rollator type walkers; instead, they choose to struggle with frequent falls using a cane or the walls of their home or both; they use rollator type walkers for a short period of time only or skip them and go directly to wheelchairs and scooters. I think it makes more sense to use the correct type of device so you can continue to walk safely for the longest period of time. If your problems with walking tend to fluctuate, you can use a cane on good days and a rollator walker on bad days