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Fear of slipping while walking on the floor - Online Doctor Chats

Date : 21-Feb-2012
User rating for this question
Very Good Posted in: Mental Health
Answered by

General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 37 Questions
User :   I have recently developed an unwanted "fear" of walking at a normal pace on floors with shiny surfaces. I "pre-think" it and then when I start walking, I feel that my foot drops like an elevator or feel like i am slipping, when actually none of this is happening. It is not a constant problem, only happens when approaching the slick floor. I work out regularly, eat well, have no health issues. I think I may be creating this sensation myself by overthinking it. any thoughts?
Doctor :   Hi,
Doctor :   Dr here
User :   hello
User :   have you read my initial post?
Doctor :   do you find any difficulty in climbing down the stairs ?
User :   none. I also can climb up stairs without assistance from the railing
Doctor :   does it happen always ? or is it occasional ?
Doctor :   Are you able to read me ?
User :   yes, i can read you. it happens only when i know or see that a slick surface is involved. it happens more often if i am a bit anxious, especially due to work.
Doctor :   ok, can you ask you to perform a test on you now ?
User :   it is unpredictable though. it does not happen all the time. sure, let's do the test
Doctor :   i would ask you to stand up
User :   ok
User :   i am standing
Doctor :   1 ) close eyes and observe whether you sway
User :   no swaying
Doctor :   and try to do it with both eyes open and close
User :   no swaying
Doctor :   ok, 2) try to walk in a straight line , i mean the foot behind the foot with a gap of foot length in between
User :   just did it forward and backward from this room to another and back. no problem
Doctor :   good , i do not get a clue on the reason for your problem
Doctor :   it could be considered as a false belief
User :   could it be anxiety? i am home now and am fine. i am also fine after a good workout. it seems to happen after a long day at work. i am a tax accountant and am extremely busy right now
User :   yes, i think it is a false belief in my mind, but i have to figure out how to make the thought stop
Doctor :   its done by habituating your self to it more
User :   so try to walk normally even though my brain is "freezing me up"?
User :   i have tried, but i guess i need to try harder
Doctor :   yes, i agree but you have to challenge
User :   i find it odd that i have no problems on the treadmill at the gym
User :   or walking up flights of stairs
Doctor :   if still it do not work then you may have to consult a neurologist to rule out phobia and delusion
User :   wow. those are scary words because i know what they mean :)
User :   i think it is in my head and that i can control it if i just don't THINK about it. that is what has changed. i never used to THINK about walking, just did it. now, when i see those shiny floors i THINK about it
Doctor :   i still believe its just stress induced phenomenon
Doctor :   well i cant call it obssesion as you kn the fact
Doctor :   its only determination you need to challenge it
User :   it is definitely not an obsession, but it does scare me. not from a health perspective, because the sensations are "false", but it is still scary
User :   i feel if i had a medical condition, it would be present at all times, not just in specific places. it seems to be more of a mind thing to me
User :   i did slip and fall on ice recently. maybe i am afraid of repeating that.
Doctor :   yes,
Doctor :   its just sensitization , as i said the cure for it is habituation
User :   i agree. so please tell me how to go back to my instinctive way of walking! i now am looking at the ground all the time to make sure there is nothing slick.
Doctor :   try to walk with goggles on it may help
User :   goggles? interesting. how may that help?
Doctor :   it will reduce the sensory perception
User :   ok, so maybe try sunglasses?
Doctor :   yes,
User :   thank you
Doctor :   you are welcome
Doctor :   thanks for consulting me
Doctor :   bye for now
Doctor :   take care
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