Feeling Confident In My Decision to Use a Mobility Aid
Managing my psoriatic arthritis sometimes requires a little extra TLC, and one way I achieve that is by using mobility aids. I'm grateful that I don't need to use one for day-to-day life, but I've used a cane for a few long stretches.
The cane helps when my feet are at their worst. I also will regularly use a wheelchair while traveling or on fun outings.
The benefit of mobility aids
Using a cane when my feet flare helps me significantly. It is always nice to take some of the pressure off my feet, especially when I desperately need it. I also found I benefit from extra stability since I can be very clumsy and stumble when my feet are hurting.
My cane has been beneficial because I still want to walk as much as possible for exercise. I also have lived in areas that weren't accessible for wheelchair users. During the few months and times of the year when I need it, my cane has been just the right amount of support I need.
A more enjoyable experience
Even when I am doing pretty well, I will still experience a lot of pain when I push my boundaries. Walking or standing for long stretches can be incredibly irritating and fatiguing, making it hard to enjoy the activity I'm doing.
For that reason, I choose to use a wheelchair during some outings and while on vacation. Not only does it make the day less painful for me and more enjoyable, but it also doesn't force me to "pay" for my fun the next day.
Dealing with guilt
I have many reasons to feel confident in my decision to use a wheelchair or cane. First and foremost, choosing to use them protects my joints from aggravation. It's not to say physical activity is harmful because that's not the case at all - I do my best to be as active as possible! But there are times that I need to protect my joints. Or I even want to enjoy a particular time without being in too much pain.
That said, I'm still my harshest critic. Knowing I am physically capable of walking and don't need to totally rely on my mobility aid (most of the time) to get around makes me feel guilty for using one. Plus, it can be a little inconvenient to navigate, which makes me feel bad for the people I'm with.
No one wins when you push through the pain
External pressures have made me think twice about using mobility aids, especially around certain people. Others don't always realize how painful psoriatic arthritis is and might be quick to judge and tell you that you don't need assistance or that others have it worse. They may also try to sway you by saying that walking is good for you. But none of those comments are helpful.
At the end of the day, I try to put the negative feelings and thoughts aside.
Is putting myself in a lot of pain or further aggravating a flare really worth it? Sure, there are certain times where it can be worth it. But most of the time, it's not. No one wins a prize for being strong and pushing past the pain.
How do you plan to recognize PsA Awareness Month?