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Thread: Why can't I balance?

  1. #1
    Senior Member MikeC's Avatar
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    Why can't I balance?

    Was hoping that someone knows why it's so hard to balance post SCI. I always told people it's because my ankles no longer work - when I try to stand and lock my knees I tip from the ankles. I know that I'm tipping but there is nothing I can do about it. Then I realized that I can stand and as long as I'm touching something - one finger against the wall or counter & I can stand without any problem. So, it's not lack of ankle strength that's my problem - I'm at a loss to explain why I can't stand up without touching something and am hoping that someone can give me a medical/physical reason. Thanks, Mike
    T12 Incomplete - Walking with Crutches, Injured in Oct 2003

  2. #2
    Mike, Have you got any strentgh in the front part of your feet? like your toes? I have none, or very little. I think our toes have alot to do with it
    Doug

  3. #3
    Mike,

    Wish I could give you a clue, but I really have no idea. After working on standing every day, I was finally able to balance myself about a year after the injury. Depending on how good the day is, I can balance anywhere from two minutes to 10 minutes. When I feel myself going out of balance, I think I'm using a combination of my ankles, shins, and calfs to correct my position. My weakness is in my hip flexors and hamstrings. Makes it very difficult to walk without a lot of support.

  4. #4
    Mike, I think it's because your brain can't tell where your feet are. The input from your fingers tells it where you are in space. I'm the same way. If it gets suddenly dark, like the lights go out, I go all the way down. This is the only explanation I can figure.

  5. #5
    Senior Member queen's Avatar
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    Same here, Betheny...I walk on painful heels like Duge, but when the lights are out, I'm going down pdq!
    Your life is what you make it, and only you have that choice!

  6. #6
    Its bad proprioception( sometimes called the 6th sense) or not knowing where your body is in relationship to the space around you. I am scared as hell of the dark because I can't feel so I have no idea where I am at. I can only close my eyes standing if I hold on to the wall or else I will bucke too.

  7. #7
    It does sound like it's lack of ankle strength, Mike. If I remember right, you have no dorsiflexion?... or can't lift your toe up? If that's the case, that's probably the reason. Especially, if you can feel that you're losing your balance, but can't correct it. I just googled proprioception & balance and got this info, even the CC thread.


    "The term proprioception refers to a sense of joint position. Kinesthetic awareness, or the ability to know where your body parts are in 3-dimensional space, is required for every movement we make. So it's not surprising that balance can be learned, challenged, and improved. Balance training aids come in a variety of forms, although you can just as easily improve your balance with little or none of the fancy stuff. We can train our bodies to improve the proprioception within the muscles, just by creating balance challenges for ourselves."

    http://sportsmedicine.about.com/cs/c.../aa062200a.htm


    According to Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, proprioception is:
    The awareness of posture, movement, and changes in equilibrium and the knowledge of position, weight, and resistance of objects in relation to the body.

    There are proprioceptors throughout the body. Proprioceptors are:
    Receptors that respond to stimuli originating within the body itself, esp. those responding to pressure, position, or stretch. Ex: muscle spindles, Golgi tendon organs, pacinian corpuscles, and labyrinthine receptors.

    Let me try to put these concepts into laymens’ terms. Proprioception and kinesthesia, the sensation of joint motion and acceleration, are the sensory feedback mechanisms for motor control and posture. These mechanisms along with the vestibular system, the fluid-filled network in the inner-ear that helps the body stay oriented and balanced, are automatically used by the brain to provide a constant flow of sensory information. The brain can then send out immediate and unconscious adjustments to muscles and joints in order to achieve movement and balance. Without proprioception, you would have a difficult time moving any of your limbs.

    The nervous system uses proprioception as a means of keeping track of and controlling different parts of the body. For example, when you move a finger, you know where and what the finger is doing, with little effort. Most people are able to simply volunteer their finger to move back and forth and proprioception makes this an easy task. If you didn’t have proprioception, the brain can’t feel what your finger is doing, and the process would have to be carried out in a much more conscious and calculated manner. You would have to use your vision to compensate for the lost feedback on the progress of your finger. You would have to voluntarily and consciously tell your finger what to do while watching the feedback.
    http://medical-supplies-equipment-co...ce-boards.html

    Cory/Coffee shareed this page a little while ago in a thread.
    http://physiotherapyexercises.com/web2/index.php

    Here's the thread.
    http://sci.rutgers.edu/forum/showthread.php?t=65261

  8. #8
    All those replies while I was searching for references to back up what I thought. Wow. And now we know that queen and betheny "go all the way down when the lights go out". I had my suspicions about betheny, but queen too?

  9. #9
    Queen and I are proof that dust on the bottle means a finer vintage of wine.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    I dont have any movement in my ankles but I can feel pressure on my feet. I can balance sometimes really good and sometimes I cant. If I have one finger on something like you I am fine. When I shut my eyes or the lights go out Im in the floor too........
    I walk with AFO's and a cane now. But for 12-13 years I walked without a cane just using the AFO's. I sway some when I am trying to balance. Im not sure why all this is. Maybe we are just all head cases........anyone ever told you it was all in your head?????

    Last night I stepped out of the truck and down I went....I havent fell in a long time. I just lost my balance. Two cute young guys came to my rescue......At least something good did come out of it even if I was almost old enough to be their mother LOL
    T12-L2; Burst fracture L1: Incomplete walking with AFO's and cane since 1989

    My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am. ~Author Unknown

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