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Living With Disabilities/I guess this is a disability in a way

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Question
All my life I have walked on my tip toes and it hasn't really affected me until here recently. My doctor suggested I try to stretch my muscles in my legs and see how I do. However, in the mornings it feels as if my muscles are so tight that I have never stretched them. I have already done physical therapy. What would you recommend for this?

Answer
Dear Kymberly,

Thank-you for your e-mailed question. I've taken a little time to look it over, and digest it. I do hope that you won't mind if I ask you for some extra information. I would like to be able to give as thorough and helpful a response as possible. For this reason, I would find it very helpful, if you could answer the following questions, which will provide me with a bit more information about your sitiation:

1. Do you have a medical diagnosis that explains why you walk on your tip toes? (This may be something like Congenital Talipes Equiinus, or similar. Please tell me what it is.).

2. If you do have a medical diagnosis, when was this first made, and how old were you at the time?

3. Have you ever had any serious injury to your legs, ankles, feet or toes, such as a fracture or severe dislocation, that may make walking difficult?

4. You say you have always walked on tip toes, but that it did not really cause problems until recently. How old are you now, and how long has the walking on tip toes been a problem?

5. What exactly is the problem that you experience because of walking on tip toes? (Please tell me if you experience pain, instability, loss of sensation, or if it is muscle stiffness and tightness).

6. You tell me that you have tried physical therapy. Has this been at all successful?

7. When did you try physical therapy, and how long ago was this?

8. Have you tried any other things that might help, as well as physical therapy? (These might include exercises, splints, or even surgery. Please let me know what you have tried).

9. Are you under the care of a Specialist, or a particular Doctor, to assist with your treatment?

I do apologise for having asked so much of you. I feel like I am posing a number of questions, in response to your original one! However, if you can answer, and provide the relevant information, it would definitely assist me to provide as full and detailed an answer as I can. I would like to be able to do that, so as to give you the best advice that I can.

I look forward to hearing from you again.
Regards,
Elaine Ellis.

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Elaine Ellis

Expertise

I am happy to respond to a wide variety of questions. I understand that everyone's experience of disability is very personal in nature - dependent upon such factors as circumstances, life experiences, personality, support networks... Therefore, I would expect questions to be highly variable in nature. In the main, I would be happy to respond to questions which ask about the nature of disabilities (conditions), about diagnosis and treatment, about living with disability (its effect upon social and working life), and about means of support. I am also happy to answer questions that many consider to be sensitive, or personal, in nature; I will do so with as much empathy, and sensitivity, as I can. These include questions about the effects of disability upon relationships, or questions relating to the emotional aspect of disability (for example, disability leading to depression). Obviously, I will be unable to respond to questions concerning subjects with which I am unfamiliar, or which require a level of detail in the response that I am simply unable to provide. However, I will generally point out where I am "out of my depth", and will either state this, or will ask permission to research my response a little longer before committing to it.

Experience

My experience in the field of disability is both personal, and professional. I have a B.A. Honours Degree in Social Work (with professional Dip. S.W.) from Lancaster University. I have spent several years working as a Social Worker; initially within Mental Health Services (a medium secure facility), then in a Hospital Discharge Team, and finally in Adult Community Services. I am currently undertaking further "career development", and am part way through postgraduate studies in Psychology. Professionally, I have worked with mentally disordered offenders, with people returning home from hospital, and with elderly and disabled adults living in the community. I have knowledge of the mental health system; of treatments, diagnoses and of side-effects. I also have knowledge of the home care system, and of arranging residential care. Personally, I class myself as a disabled person - although, I must admit that the realisation of this was slow to dawn! I can empathise with many who have for years attempted to cope with as minimal aid as possible, either through lack of knowledge concerning disability rights, or through lack of available assistance. I have long-term health problems that include Endometriosis (a gynaecological condition), chronic respiratory (sinus) problems, Asthma, chronic low Iron levels, and M.E. (chronic fatigue/ fibromyalgia). My Endometriosis was finally diagnosed, after YEARS of suffering, in 2011. I have since had THREE surgeries. I have also had sinus surgery, and am awaiting intensive treatment for my M.E. I trust this qualifies me adequately to assist others with queries concerning disability!

Education/Credentials
O-Levels (with grades): (1987) English Literature (A) English Language (A) Art (A) French (A) German (B) Mathematics (C) Biology (C) Physics (C) Chemistry (C) A-Levels (with grades): (1990) General Studies (B) French (C) English Literature (C) German (C) R.S.A. level one Computer Literacy and Information Technology (1995) Certificate: Teaching English As A Foreign Language (1998) B.A. Honours Degree in European Studies with German (1994) 2:1 B.A. Honours Degree in Social Work with Dip.S.W. (2003) Currently undertaking postgraduate study in Psychology.

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