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Ataxia UK
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Shooting pains

hi all,

I've been having shooting pains coming up my calf or shin from ankle for the last few days. The pain only lasts a matter of seconds but it is very painful! If I'm standing or walking I fall down if I can't find something stable quickly enough. My walking stick does not suffice to stop me falling. I fell yesterday and also today. I saw my physio today and explained the problem and he manipulated and then massaged the area, but it has not stopped.

I'm now feel really frightened when walking - I was already dangerous and fell frequently but this has made things much worse.

I don't know if this is related to ataxia or is something completely different. I really hope it's not another symptom.

Has anyone else experienced this, and can anyone shed some light on what's happening please?

I shall see my gp if it continues.


Alison xx

5 Replies

Have you tried using a wheeled walker? Might catch your falls.

Occasionally my calf says no and wants to deposit me in a crumpled heap. The 4 wheeled walker with brakes catches my fall. I am on Baclofen for the cramp.

I try not to create any hurdles as that would limit my activities.

Got my walker from charity warehouse. Also found walkers on Facebook and Freecycle. My physio department had wheeled walkers to try. Some physios hate 4/3 wheeled walkers, some love them.

Wheeled walker has opened up more activities. No idea what causes it.


I guess that'll be my next step if this is part of ataxia. I already fall sometimes when my hip or knee or ankle gives way and I end up in a heap, or I fall from total loss of balance, but this feeling is very different so I'm hoping it's not ataxia related and can be fixed. Actually hasn't been too bad today. Fingers crossed

thanks for your advice

Alison xx


I have developed peripheral neuropathy in arms and hands with similar problems but the pàins got worse and was lasting most of the day. I am now on gabapentin which has reduced this drastically. See how it goimes it may just be an irritation. Your calf isn't swollen and hot to touch is it...if it is go see your go asap


no my calf isn't swollen or hot to touch and the pains seem to have vanished for the moment

thanks for your advice




from what you are describing it sounds like you are having spasms - they are sudden painful contractions of the muscles and can be triggered if you overstretch perhaps when walking or get tired? It is probably related to your ataxia as spasms are a symptom. If you are under a neurologist discuss it with them. You would probably also benefit from some specific stretching exercises, if you are not already doing them. You may need some anti-spasmodic medication (they usually start with baclofen). Having a wheeled walker with brakes can help a lot - with confidence and support. There are lots to chose from and the ones with brakes and a seat help with walking control and fatigue management. I also know many people who has decided that a wheelchair is the safest option for outdoor use - don't see this as 'giving in' but more of a strategy to keep you safe and independent.

Hope you find something that helps!


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