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Trekking pole or walking stick?

Why do you think some people with mobility issues use trekking poles  instead of a traditional walking stick?

Some people think a trekking pole is a weapon. With some of them, you can remove the rubber end to reveal the sharper metal tip. This exists for those who use trekking poles as trekking poles on grassy land or mud.

But many people with conditions like MS who have issues with balance, fatigue, dizziness or maybe even pain, use them because we are on a sharp upward trajectory in our journey towards acceptance of the condition we have been afflicted with. So we might use the trekking poles to mask the fact that we need support for our walking.

We also might use them because we need them to bear our weight when we feel fatigued, and the modern aluminium poles feel more sturdy than wooden sticks.

We might also use them because some of the trekking poles are height adjustable and sometimes we need them higher up to support our balance, whilst at other times we need them lower down to support our weight.

Sometimes we might use the poles as a subtle but clear way of letting others know that we have mobility issues – that we can’t swerve out of their way, or we might fall on to them. But this is less and less useful nowadays as so many people don’t look at where they are going anyway.

At other times we might use them as a way of gaining some extra personal space so that if we do stumble or fall, we are less likely to land on another person.

Why do I share this? Because this is the kind of thing that we folks with conditions like MS find really difficult – for a whole host of reasons like the one I’ve touched on above – to explain to others. Not only is MS a complex condition, but it invokes a complexity of emotional responses in us who are dealing with it on a daily basis.

And just to complicate things, some of us with MS when it is not yet too visible, might actually use the trekking poles as …. Trekking poles for hiking.


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