Problems at the beach

I am posting today to address and discuss my issue when on holidays or day trips. I find that when I am at the beach and trying to walk on loose or wet sand I feel very unbalanced and not in control of my legs. I am wondering if this happens to anyone else? I am unable to use a walking stick and doubt if this would be much help in loose sand anyway. Let me know your thoughts and idea's, Thanks =].

17 Replies

  • This is going to sound odd, but I use my Walker on the beach and it's very comforting to know that if I fall I won't break any bones because of the soft sand. I also take my Walker in waist deep water at the beach and do leg strengthening exercises (Aqua therapy) How I wish I could swim again. I need to get some type of flotation device. Don't let your ataxia keep you from your enjoyment of the beach. I don't like the corrosion caused by the saltwater on my Walker and have to clean and oil after use. If you're lucky you'll have someone's nice hand to hold on to.

  • Hi thanks for your reply

    you made me laugh thinking of you with your walker in the water if i had seen you on the beach id probably have thought that person is trying to drown themselve and call a lifeguard. But you know what i say good for you unlike me you seem to be determined to enjoy life to the full and you said you wished you could swim again well i still can and you have just give me the motivation I need to start swimming again, many thanks maggs

  • Yes. This has happened. Also,I once got knocked down by a wave (in the relatively wild Atlantic). I avoid the sand now though its supposed to be very good for strengthening legs, and I once loved the beach. I think ski poles can be helpful for walking. Maybe this idea of a walker-in-the-water is a good one. I would think you need a calm sea. Good luck...

  • Hi

    I too have terrible trouble at the beach. I find soft, dry sand to be the worst as it is very uneven and easy to sink in. I prefer wet sand because it is often more solid and more even.

    I went swimming last year, but cut my feet and legs to ribbons on the breakwater that I was using to stop me falling over.

    I think Cubsfan's comment, " Don't let your ataxia keep you from your enjoyment of the beach" is excellent advice though, to me as well.

    I use my walking stick at the beach. It is difficult in the sand, but it is better than nothing.

  • It sounds gloomy but the truth is that as Ataxia gets worse, your problem at the beach will get worse. That idea of using a walker seems good, you should try it. I often find that if you cannot do something the way you were used to, there are other ways to do it.

    Once you need a wheelchair there are many beaches that have those special beach wheelchairs with relatively soft tires. You will need somebody to push it, though.

    I haven’t been able to go to the beach, caves and woods for years. It is disappointing every time I come across something I can’t do anymore but that is how it is and there are still other places I can go to.

  • Hi Maggs,

    Any uneven surfaces will magnify balance issues and make any spastic/weak muscles have to work harder to compensate. I struggle with one of the 3 fields near where I live - 'tis the lumpiest, bumpiest field ever ! Sand, mud,tufty grass,slopes are all a challenge. I do find my stick invaluable. Watch out for those coastal breezes too - I once literally got blown over by a gust of wind ! : ) Angela x

  • Thanks for your reply I never thought of the sand being uneven but I can relate to that field you mention when I go to hang t he washing on the line im constantly rocking to and fro on my feet

  • Dear Maggsataxia, Yes, it's difficult to walk in sand, although I hold my husband's hand for stability. I've even used my cane (walking stick) and it has helped me. Apparently, it's good exercise to walk in sand, although I find I get tired quickly doing this! My best to you..., ;o)

  • I've been thinking about just this maggsataxia.

    Prior to ataxia, I used to live on Mallorca (up to 2013). So most days involved the beach/sea. However, I've not been on a beach since. But I plan on walking in various places on the Spanish Mediterranean coast later this month, so I will be on a beach for the first time since I was diagnosed. I use a stick (occasionally) to walk - especially on uneven ground.

    Getting out of the sea was becoming a problem, even in 2013. So I've been thinking about this a lot recently. My plan is to walk into the sea with my stick until waist-deep. Then give the stick to someone else while I swim (if I still can - but the Med is great for just floating on your back - so I expect a lot of floating will be done). And then walk back out of the sea using my stick again.

    Well, that's the plan.

    I'll let you know how I get on. And what helps.


  • Hi Iain Maiiorca what a great place to live, we went on holiday to Alcudia this year and althought I dont use a stick I have tried but it was more of a hindrance than a help I do find it increasingly harder to get out of the sea so im usually on my butt doina a bum shuffle up the Good luck on your forthcomming adventure and let me know how you get on.

  • Alcudia was actually where I stayed (down near the harbour). The beach there is so flat. So it was probably as easy as I was going to get. Plan this time is to be on the Med coast of mainland Spain though. So I'm not expecting the beaches to be as forgiving.

  • Was on the beach last Friday, so funny! Ended up on all fours, crawling along. Ever seen a chameleon on a branch? Much like that...

  • Yes I wish you great luck!

  • Hi, yes walking on sand is horrendously difficult! We live in SW France with a beautiful coastline but we very rarely go to the beach now. However, they do have "handiplage," on many beaches now in high season. This involves stopping at the cabin before going on the sand and if you have a wheelchair/or not swapping it for a plastic yellow thing to sit in whilst the big strong beach man pulls you to where you want to sit. Then if you want to anytime he'll pull you into the water. All sounds great, but in reality I have never asked them to pull me into the water - I just would feel so self conscious.

    However, I'm not shy! I manage to walk to the water using my stick and someone's arm and then I leave my stick a few metres from the water's edge and go in on all fours,! The currents of the water coming in and out make me fall over otherwise! Once in the water I'm fine - as long as it's calm. I then get out on all fours too. I probably look such a sight!!!!! But I really don't care, and I don't have to disturb anyone.

    However out of season there are no "handiplage" facilities! Last time we went there was a slight slope to get off the beach and very thick sand! So I crawled off the beach much to the embarrassment of my adult children ! Lol

    I now have the attitude that I do things in whatever way I can. Most people have no idea of our difficulties so I take no notice of the looks and comments around me. And actually most people want to help you, there's always someone offering to pass my stick or help me up.

    Good luck Iain tackling the beach soon

    Alison xxx

  • Hiya wibbly wobbly this is how I used to refer to myself when my kids were younger. what a lovely part of the world you live in.I live in N.IRELAND [,.ve never heard of a handip;age but what a brill idea. Im a bit like you I would be self counsious and dont like annoying anyone i just get on with it I usually sit on my butt and do the bum shuffle in and out of the girls who are 11 and 12 will let me link their arm SOME of the time. Lol

    Maggs x

  • I used to find walking on the beach very difficult but sadly now permanelty in a wheelchair(what I'd give to walk along seashore with my husband in Mazarron where we've got a holiday home) for swimming I wear a swim jacket called a

    Konfidence Jacket, to be able to get in the water without the use of an aid is truly fantastic & gives you freedom to move your arms & legs so freely I feel fully invigorated & thoroughly recommend it.

  • My last walk on sand was on a sloping beach, I kept veering off towards the water 😂 A nice firm flat beach would be a pleasure to walk on, anything with shingle could spell disaster😉 xB

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