Polio Place

A service of Post-Polio Health International


Restless Legs and Polio; Muscles Tears and Polio

Post-Polio Health, Volume 31, Number 4, Fall 2015

Question: I had what was termed a “mild” case of polio in 1951 at age 7. Other than a barely noticeable curvature of the spine and temporary weakness in the neck, I had no ill effects and was back in full action within a couple months. I played sports throughout high school and have run a variety of races since my early 30s, including marathons and, yesterday, at age 71, I completed a nine-mile race.

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Paraplegics and Diabetes

Post-Polio Health, Volume 27, Number 3, Summer 2011
Ask Dr. Maynard
Frederick M. Maynard, MD

Question: My physiatrist says that paraplegics have a lot more diabetes, so I started wondering how post-polio and spinal cord injury compare with regard to the disease.

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Regain Strength and Muscle Mass through Exercise

Post-Polio Health, Volume 26, Number 4, Fall 2010
Ask Dr. Maynard
Frederick M. Maynard, MD

Question: I read with great interest the question and answer about knees collapsing in Vol. 26, No. 2 (www.post-polio.org/edu/pphnews/pph26-2sp10p7.pdf). I had polio at age 1. I’m told that I made a full recovery and that our local doctor used me as an example of a “miraculous” recovery.

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Pain and Using Wheelchair

Post-Polio Health, Volume 28, Number 1, Winter 2012
Ask Dr. Maynard
Frederick M. Maynard, MD“Ask Dr. Maynard,” Post-Polio Health, Volume 28, Number 1, Winter 2012

Question: I have been having a LOT of pain through my butt into my lower back. I looked up muscle groups and think I see what is causing the problem. I sit at my desk nine or so hours six days a week in order to survive financially.

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Learning from Disability

Grace Young

My life changed course when I had polio at age nine, but I was too young to realize it. When a person is disabled in adulthood their whole world is turned upside down pretty quickly. At the age of nine, I only knew that I couldn’t walk, play outside with my friends, or go to school for a year.

But what really charted the course for my future was being a patient of a physical therapist, Miss Waddell, who had been trained by Sister Kenny.

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New muscle weakness is the hallmark of post-polio syndrome and can significantly impact activities of daily living. Some amount of new muscle weakness is likely to occur in about half of post-polio individuals (Jubelt & Drucker, 1999). Muscle weakness is most likely to occur in muscles previously affected during the acute poliomyelitis followed by a partial or full recovery (Cashman et al., 1987; Dalakas & Illa, 1991).

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Roll Models: Scooters and Wheelchairs

Many of us who had polio used canes, wheelchairs and bracing on our path to recovery and gradually were able to relinquish them. Others of us have developed different chronic conditions that have managed just fine until now without mobility equipment. But as we get older our bodies change, our symptoms escalate and daily activities use so much more energy that we don’t have the get-up-and-go to do what we have to do, much less enjoy the fun stuff. When walking becomes difficult, we have to compromise, reduce activities or eliminate them.

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 If you’re at risk of falling or have some balancing problems you might want to consider using a walker. It is imperative that your walker is properly fitted with comfortable handgrips and that it is the correct height for you. To determine the correct height, stand inside the walker, let your arms rest at your sides and match the crease on the inside of your wrist with the top of the walker.

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Of Crutches and Canes

Have you thought about using a cane or crutch but dismissed the idea because you’d be self-conscious? Think you'll look "disabled"? Figure that you’ve gotten along okay without walking aids so far, so why start now?

Good question.I know that feeling well and talked about it in “Facing Reality.”

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How to Use Crutches on Stairs

  • Approach the stairs and have your therapist stand by for safety until confident of abilities.
  • Keep crutches down on lower level and do not place upward on the steps. Push down hard on the crutches with your arms. This lifts the body upward.
  • Then, step up first with your strong leg to the first step!
  • Bring up your weak leg and crutches to the same step as the strong leg.
  • Crutches and both legs should now be on the same step.

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