Nervous walking — Scope | Disability forum
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Nervous walking

Bevkendall Member Posts: 2 Listener
edited February 2018 in Cerebral palsy
hi I’m 46 and manage my cp quite well. But I’m worried my walking is getting worse . It happens if I’m a little nervous or I feel people are looking at me .  I was a work the other day and had to walk past a few people I don’t really get on with.  I could feel my leg started to tighten and I felt I couldn’t plant my foot properly. It also happened when I was catching the bus and I needed to step off the kerb ! It took all my energy to actually step off and I felt I couldn’t do it . I’ve now got a swollen ankle as I feel mymuscle went that tight, it has torn ? Anyone else have had problems getting older ? Sometimes I feel that I’m walking a tightrope and feel that I can’t actually walk 


  • Topkitten
    Topkitten Member Posts: 1,285 Pioneering
    The trick in such a situation is to concentrate 100% on what you are doing and totally ignore where you are except for where you place your feet. It takes practice and is not easy to begin with but can be done. I do exactly the same thing when I am in a busy place because I start to feel conscious of people looking at me and feeling disrespectful towards me.

    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • rainandshine7
    rainandshine7 Member Posts: 1 Listener
    I am so happy that I was able to come across this forum and maybe my experience will be able to help someone. I had much the same issue as it sounds like you are describing. I was very nervous when I would walk, and was concerned if people were looking at me. I had always been too proud to own a cane, but I figured it was time. Luckily I had a good friend of mine recommend a walking cane that I might actually like. While I do not enjoy having to use a cane everyday, I feel more confident being out in public and not nervous when I am out and about. 
  • Jean_OT
    Jean_OT Member Posts: 513 Pioneering

    Hi @Bevkendall

    It does seem that experiencing some increased difficulty with mobility is fairly common for people with cp as they approach their 'middle years'. There is some information on ageing in the information pages of the website:

    Also it is a topic that people regularly post about here in the community.

    Unfortunately, it does seem that people often struggle to get much support for medical professionals, perhaps because very little research has been done on how cp impacts on people as they age.

    However, often the answer does seem to be 'Planning and Pacing', explored further in this link Psychology Pain and The Three P's_1.pdf

    The link is talking about planning and pacing in relation to chronic pain but it is also relevant to fatigue and other physical stresses that can be associated with ageing with cp. As @rainandshine7 mentioned deciding to use a mobility aid, at least some of the time, can be an important decision to support safe and confident walking.  

    You mentioned that your ankle is swollen, if this isn't showing some improvement it would be wise to have it checked out by a doctor just in case you have done more than a minor stain or sprain that people typically deal with themselves following the RICE acronym (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation): see:

    It is really helpful that you have been able to identify what factors can lead to your muscles tightening. These factors can vary for different people, cold weather is a common factor and so is stress. Over the years I have spoken to lots of people with cp who have experienced a temporary worsening of their mobility when they have been facing stressful situations like job interviews or academic exams.

    Sometimes therapy such as CBT or Mindfulness can be helpful in supporting people to manage stressful situations in such a way that they have less physical impact. It can be really difficult to access to therapy on the NHS but there are some good courses available free on-line, here is an example:

    Hope this helps in some way, best wishes



    Jean Merrilees BSc MRCOT

    You can read more of my posts at:


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