In online MS support groups I have seen many questions related to “How many of you use ‘x’?” and “What do you use when ‘y’?” Sometimes I ask these questions. When I see a question which has a device/tool I have used + activity/situation I have experienced I am found offering my experiences. As I have written, my MS includes a dropped foot, which is a foot that does not lift well when walking and the toes tend to drag. For stability I have used canes, ankle/foot braces, walker, rollator, transport chair, power wheelchair, store scooters, and my first – a shopping cart.
A few years ago, the drop foot would only occur after I had been standing or walking awhile. The most common time the drop foot would start is during grocery shopping. This is where my real fondness of shopping carts began. Suddenly, I stopped seeing it as a way to help contain the kids and carry a large amount, but as a mobility aid! A shopping cart gave me something to hold, to lean on, a low bar to rest a tired foot, and it can hide the toe drag from others.
As my foot drop progressed, I expanded my shopping cart uses. I started parking next to the cart return so I could grab a cart and use it for stability going to the store entrance and all the way back to my car. I could easily touch, read lean on, the cart return and my car for stability between the cart and my driver’s seat. My kids would roll their eyes when I would get excited to visit stores with shopping carts. Some store carts even look to be modeled after rollators. You’ve seen these that have a big net sack in place of a rollator’s seat? A pool cart looks like this too. I put a pool cart to use getting my groceries from the car to the kitchen!
As I worked my way through Physical Therapy, one Physical Therapist added balance exercises to do while in the check out line. The exercises used the cart handle for stability and alternated ways to lift/bend each leg. I told myself doing these exercises made me look like a person in training and not an over caffeinated women. Holding the poses for a minute or so did this, right?
Canes and ankle/foot braces (AFO, ankle & foot orthotics) were later added to the mix. Eventually my strength decreased and my drop foot became more pronounced to where a heavy shopping cart would start to pull me in sloped parking lots and curb ramps. Time to let others handle the shopping carts, for now. I moved to online grocery shopping with drive up pick up and cane or rollator use for other stores and public outings. I hope to work my way back to the shopping cart mobility aid device. Maybe in a small store?
More about online grocery ordering, canes, rollators, and wheelchair adventures later.
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