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Walking aid?

  • By b.human

    Hi! I’m a 20 year old college student and was diagnosed with RA about eight months ago. I’m currently taking methotrexate, folic acid and hydroxychloroquine. The meds certainly help in that my symptoms are worse when I don’t take them. But I still have pain daily, especially in my feet, knees, hands and wrists. From reading other people’s experiences I can tell my symptoms are relatively moderate. But it can still be overwhelming facing moderate pain 24/7. My problem is: when I’m in school, I do a ton of walking. I park on campus and then have to walk to my job which is in the nearby downtown area as well as to class. Easily an hour of walking daily. I also participate in a school activity that requires a lot of walking and movement. I’m wondering if a cane would help me alleviate some of my pain but am worried about bringing it up to my doctor in case he shoots it down since I technically can move around fine (it’s just painful, not impossible). Is it worth asking? Is there a way to measure if my symptoms are severe enough to warrant a walking aid? I would appreciate any insight into how to approach this. Thanks 🙂

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  • By Richard Faust Moderator

    Thanks for writing b.human. Concerning whether you should ask your doctor about a walking aid, please remember that you are the one that has to live with the condition and no one will look out for you like you. This article from one of our contributors looks at what self-advocacy means to and for her and how it helps her be a full participant in daily life: https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/living/where-would-i-be-without-self-advocacy/. Your doctor may certainly have some thoughts on what you should do, but the decisions are yours.

    Concerning your pain, you should bring these issues to your doctor so you can determine if your current treatment plan is effective enough. Pain may be a sign of disease activity indicating that additional damage may be occurring. It may not be possible to eliminate pain and other symptoms, but it is always worth evaluating. In this article one of our contributors writes about a doctor that was not willing to settle for him having occasional flares because she thought that “uncontrolled RA now will be a disaster later” https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/living/the-good-doctor/.

    I hope this information is useful and know that you are always welcome here for information and support. Please keep us posted on how you are doing. Best, Richard (RheumatoidArthritis.net Team)

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  • By ktinflorida

    Hi BHuman. If you think a cane will help, ask. Often you can find slightly used canes in thrift shops if you want a cheap one to try out without bringing your doctor in to it.

    Let me give you something else to consider though. If you are having that kind of pain, maybe consider discussing that with your doctor. It is often a sign that your disease is not well controlled and is still damaging your body. What is your SED rate on your last blood test? That will tell you a lot. Are you on the max dose of methotrexate? Would it absorb better as an injection? Maybe you are at max dose and already injecting. Then is it time to consider a biologic? Nobody wants to be on more meds, but the damage is irreversible, so maybe it is worth a conversation.

    My pain is more controlled than what you are describing and I have what doctors call moderate to severe RA. I take max dose injectable methotrexate, Plaquenil and folic acid like you, but they also added a biologic. It took quite a while to find the right one for me, but I am very happy with Xeljanz pills and it doesn’t drop my white count like some of the other biologics did.

    I hope you find a solution and can get around to enjoy college life. College and RA must be a tough combination.

    Good luck.

    KT

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