Monday, 21 December 2009

Walking in a winter wonderland?

So this last week has seen a significant proportion of the UK covered in a blanket of snow. To be fair, I think snow makes the landscape look fabulous, conjures up romantic images of snuggling down with a hot choc by a roaring fire and dreaming of the future. But the reality for someone who's mobility impaired, snow and ice are nothing short of a nightmare.

It affects you physically. My muscles have stiffened up so much as the temperatures have plummeted well below zero. This has caused a fair amount of pain in the hip by the end of the day and today I've been suffering a suspected trapped nerve of some sort probably due to tense muscles. It has eased off in the last hour after using my TENS but it was a real tear-jerking sharp pain every time I put weight through my right leg.

Probably my biggest problem is down to the over-exaggerated external rotation I have with my right leg. I have to be excessively careful on any slippy surface as my right foot naturally swivels outwards and if this movement occurs too fast, I pull a lot of muscles around the hip and groin. This has happened on an over-polished laminate floor once, imagine an icy surface! The pain that accompanies this jerked movement is indescribable. I can only liken it to someone trying to dislocate my hip with a sharp pull of my foot and failing. And that pain lasts days. It can be incapacitating.

So any pain induced due by slipping in the bad weather starts to affect you psychologically. You start to display avoidance behaviour as you don't want to go out where there's a potential chance of slipping or falling (even if its a light frost). Your social life might start to suffer as you try to minimise any trip you must make that involves going outside. You then start to compulsively worry - it starts off as worrying about slipping and falling, and then escalates as you do begin to avoid going outside to worrying about getting food and other essentials into your home.

It turns into quite an exhaustive cycle. You slip or fall on the snow or ice, you are now in pain, you avoid going out until absolutely necessary, your muscles are tense and stiffen up, thus more likely to slip or fall and the cycle begins again.

I'm constantly amazed at people who seemingly just stride across large patches of thick sheet ice and they stay upright! I shuffle, stop, shuffle, slip, stop, calm down, shuffle shuffle......and eventually get to my destination, hopefully without falling, and by that point both my legs are aching and exhausted! That eventually leads to hip pain later in the day, so I don't even have to slip for this weather to cause me pain! Can't win eh?!

Only 2-3 more months of this, bring on spring time!! Merry christmas :o)

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