Stories about MS and Falling: Part 1

Seems like most of us fall down, some more often than others...

Young woman tripping over step
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Just a couple of days ago, I fell down. I stood up, took a couple of steps and fell down hard. So hard, in fact, that I still have a scab and a big bruise on my knee. I keep hearing the “splat” sound that I made when I hit the pavement.

I keep telling myself it was because my foot fell asleep or the ground was uneven. However, besides my skinned knee, my confidence was shaken. I reminded myself of my dad, who has fallen a couple of times in recent years and always says, "This is not because I am old!

It could have happened to anyone!" In the same way, I said to my husband, immediately after the fall, "This is not because I have MS! People just fall down sometimes!"

Since the fall, I keep assessing and reassessing my MS symptoms. Is the tingling in my feet worse? Do I feel dizzy? How are my fatigue levels? So far, I am still able to convince myself that this was just one of those things that happens. However, I am reminded of a study that said that 60% of people with MS have fallen. I wonder what the real number is...

I asked people with MS to share their stories about falling with me and these are some of the things that they wrote:

  • "I have the potential for falling daily, but through my training in tai chi, I have learned how to compensate to avoid the actual fall. Then there was today. I was on my front porch and, I guess I got distracted because I went from standing upright to heading toward the floor. I got away with just a nasty bruise and rash, but it was scary while it was happening. Fatigue, of course, makes it worse, and there are certain meds that increase the balance problems so I try to stay away from those. But I suppose mindfulness is the lesson for me with today’s fall."
  • "I have fallen several times and it’s upsetting each time. Fortunately, I haven’t hurt myself. My ego has been more bruised than my body. But here is what I’ve noticed about my falling: It happens more regularly when I am wearing thicker rubber or foam-soled shoes. The lip of the sole gets caught in a raised crack in the sidewalk or on a wrinkle of a rug. So, my conclusion is that I should not wear shoes like this and if I do, to keep my eyes on the surface in front of me. I want to be able to move about as freely as possible without constantly worrying about falling over."
  • "I tend to stumble (shoe catches on carpet, rugs, floor etc) – so I have gone to not wearing shoes at work. I bought a lot of cute socks that I walk around in so I don’t spill my coffee, papers. Thankfully – it is a small office so I am able to do this without problems."
  • "I have fallen 4 times in the past few weeks. Each time I have hurt myself. Each time I am upset and feel like crying. It has been 100 degrees where I live and I am thinking that the heat has made me weaker, with less stamina, and more tired. I realize I have to give up the 'working in the garden' during the heat of the day.

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