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Old 01-16-2010, 07:23 AM   #1
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Question Weakness

I'm trying to rule out MS.
Both of my feet are feel like I'm walking on very rough sandpaper; legs feel like I'm wearing a neoprene suit. This started 5 months ago. Now I can't depend on my legs, can't feel the position of my feet, have to concentrate to straighten out knees because they don't always lock. I signed up for a gym 2 months ago to try to get my feet and function back; workout increased my muscle strength a lot, but it didn't improve walking.

How do people suffering from MS define weakness in legs?
I would define my problem as muscle disobedience. I can push a 70lb block at the gym, how is walking different? Does the mind disconnect like that with MS?

 
Old 01-16-2010, 08:17 AM   #2
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Re: Weakness

MS may or may not cause weakness in the legs. It depends on the person. When you have MS, weakness and the extent of weakness can vary from one MSer to another.

I have found that while I sit I can do certain things with my leg that I can not do when standing. There are days when I cannot walk unless I look at my feet to get them to move (on those days if I cannot see, I cannot walk). Again, MS and the symptoms of MS vary wildly which is also another reason why it is difficult to develop a cure or to pinpoint MS.

If you have not seen a neurologist, you should make an appointment. As for the gym, you should have a spotter or use a machine with safety spotting built-in. Some gyms have a trainer who might be able to assist you. Physical therapy might also be required to make sure you can exercise safely. I had to give up on the gym because I could no longer safely lift (now it is impossible for me). I also lifted using free weights, but within the confines of a safety cage such as a Smith Machine. At home I use a passive Exercycle to maintain muscle memory.

If you have MS, it is important to keep moving and do much stretching.

If you cannot locate a neurologist who specializes in MS, contact your local MS Society or Association and they can help you.
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Old 01-17-2010, 08:18 AM   #3
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Re: Weakness

Good advice, thank you. I think it is great that you let nothing discourage you and use a stationary bike. You are an inspiration.
I've lived through years of comprehension deficit caused by insufficient vision, this improved for me and continues to do so. Vision provides most of the information to ambulate safely and understand the environment.

My difficulty was getting up and initiating to walk. Touching my legs wiht my hand helped me to locate each one. After a dozen steps I could roll along, besides balance issues, without further problem. I had advice of an orthopedic, over 6 months of physical therapy, continue to get advice from chiropractic and didn't stop improving until last summer.

I have consulted a neurologist, had a huge amount of blood tests, ultrasound of heart function, echo, stress test, MRI of brain and L-spine, the last was a PET full body bone scan and scheduled for an EMG. I'm getting the works. First brain MRI years ago had 4-5 foci suggestive of MS, second brain MRI last month had more foci; impression on this one was demyelination (sp?). TBI symptoms are similar or identical to MS, it is more difficult to sort out what is what. I am 52 years old, additional foci could be normal.

Spotter - is that onother person? I had a trainer showing me what would be of most benefit for me. Freeweight routines I do are safe, the equipment catches the weights should I not be able to. I don't overdo, don't try to impress anyone, I'm beyond that age Stretching - I don't do enough. Why is streching important to a person with MS?

 
Old 01-17-2010, 05:30 PM   #4
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Re: Weakness

Stretching is important because muscles will atrophy when they are not being used. For example, your leg weakness could be attributed to just a few muscles not working. When muscles do not work, they atrophy. Stretching works the muscles. You might, with MS, also cycle through cramps- mild to severe- and stretching helps relieve the cramps.

A spotter is a lift-buddy or a trainer who will keep your "noggin" safe while you lift. A good lift-buddy also gives you motivation to lift and to remain active.

It would appear that you are running the gauntlet of examinations. It might require the patience of Job, but please do not get 'bummed'. One day at a time you realize that your diagnosis is one day closer. I would keep doing what you are doing while adding a healthy amount of stretching. As my neuro tells me, you must keep moving each day or your MS will catch you. On "bad days" baby steps; on "good" days strides!

Stay strong and stay positive!!
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MS onset circa 1977
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Old 01-21-2010, 06:46 AM   #5
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Re: Weakness

The staying strong part is difficult. SIGH.
It is good to know that stretching helps relieve cramps, I didn't know that, glad you told me.

I have another question. After I have hand controls installed in my car, are the foot pedals still operable? My husband and I share a car, does he have to learn the hand control too, or is it possible to switch between foot and hand control? How does that work?

 
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