Three Myths about Using a Mobility Aid

Three Myths about Using a Mobility Aid

Physical pain from psoriatic arthritis and my other chronic illnesses forced me to utilize mobility aids for much of my chronic life. Sadly there have been times when I chose not to use one just because I feared what others would think. This robbed my family and I the opportunities to explore new places and to do more than I could while on foot. I allowed my humiliation of not being “normal” reinforce the myths that people spewed when they saw me using my mobility aids. Today I want to let the world know what those myths are and why we all need to stop allowing them to keep us from doing what is best for us.

Wheelchairs are only for people who can’t walk or the elderly

Funny thing about this myth is that the inability to walk isn’t defined as not being able to walk at all. I don’t know anyone who would tease or choose to humiliate someone who had broken their foot or leg and used a wheelchair because it was too hard to get around all day on crutches. Yet, that is exactly how it feels to someone who lives with chronic pain. We may be able to go grocery shopping on foot or walk through the mall to get to the movie theater, but not be able to spend the day walking around the zoo. It is no different than the person who knows that their arms wouldn’t be able to handle eight hours on crutches. However, because we lack the visual aid of a cast or other visible injury, it is presumed that there is nothing wrong with us. Another presumption is that we are paralyzed. Instead of being thankful that someone isn’t when seen standing up and walking a few feet, they are ridiculed and shamed for using a mobility aid. As for only being for the elderly, can you imagine someone suggesting to a disabled child that they were too young to need a wheelchair? Wheelchairs help people with all kinds of ailments and not all of them involve the use of their legs.

Walkers are only for the elderly

I’d be a millionaire if I had a dollar for every time someone said that I was too young to need a walker. I was in my mid-thirties when I began using a walker and instead of explaining how utilizing mine had prevented me from falling as often as I had in the years prior or how it extended the amount of time that I was able to spend on my feet, I hung my head low and felt like a fool for having to use something that was made for the elderly. Those of us who purchased walkers for our children when they began standing did so because it made it safer for them to get around. While in their walkers they could race across a room, where without it they most likely would have fallen flat on their behind or hit their heads on a table. If only we had the same outlook as having to use one as an adult. Using a walker prevents injuries for those of us who have issues with balance or the strength to stand/walk for long periods of time. My walker allows my back, feet, legs, and hips to rest when needed, not just when there is a bench available.

People who use wheelchairs that aren’t paralyzed or elderly are lazy

There is nothing easy about getting around in a wheelchair. It is a hassle whether you are being pushed or getting around on your own. Not every door automatically opens, not every ramp is safe, and not every walkway is wide enough, and so on and so on…. Nobody wakes up and says I want to take it easy today so I think I will use a wheelchair. A day with a wheelchair is far more challenging than an average day spent on foot.

Have you let these myths keep you from using a mobility aid when you should have?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Psoriatic-Arthritis.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (6)
  • LeisaT
    4 months ago

    Is that right that PsA puts on weight. my specialist told me to start walking and water aerobics just work through the pain and I should loss weight.
    I’m on prozac for PTSS which makes me put on weight also. My legs also pain quite a lot. Some friends make me think that the pain I’m in is in my head and I need to get over it.

  • imschmarte
    4 months ago

    So true Cynthia! I too choose to use the electric carts when shopping, and I have had people look at me, like what is wrong with you chubby, get up and walk, maybe walk off some of that weight! But what they don’t know is, I am over weight BECAUSE of PsA and all the other things I have wrong! My spine is crumbIing and I can’t get around, I can’t do jazzercise or anything like that. So I just have to listen to their comments and hang my head. I need a good come back! Anyone??

  • Beth V
    4 months ago

    Since I became basically immobile, I have had difficulties managing my weight. I have had people tell me to my face that if I just got up and walked instead of using the scooter I would be able to lose some weight. I don’t understand how strangers feel free to insult someone to their face like that. I just turn around and don’t even try to educate people like that.

  • imschmarte
    4 months ago

    Hi Beth, I posted my comment before I read all the comments! You could have written mine for me! Sorry to you also for ignorant people.

  • Ava
    4 months ago

    Hi Beth V, how unnecessary and cruel of people to speak to you in such away. Kudos for your strength to walk away.
    I don’t understand why people feel the need to judge others, especially since I know no-one that is perfect? Arn’t we all human? What business is it of anyone theirs anyway? It’s the person that counts not the way they look. Sad and ignorant behaviour can be so very hurtful, grrr!

  • Ava
    4 months ago

    Ps oops, sorry about the typos.

  • Poll