Since my surgery where I got ataxia I have found small, quick, repetitive, precise movements (hand, feet) extremely difficult (e.g. cutting/slicing a vegetable while cooking or “shaking” the spice jar to add spices or performing some speedy movements in a sport). Do you experience the same problem with your ataxia?

Geesh does that ring a bell... Not to offend but I have always grown up Country and now live in Alaska.... point being is that I need to be able to use a gun with precision. My point behind that is that I am a great shot! Anyone can be a great shot you just have to practice... when I shoot the only thing I pay attention to is the Ataxia thats why i know when to pull the trigger.... its predictable in precision activities like this. The only thing I really practiced was how to control my ataxia because I had to. This ability will disappear but if I dont fight it whats the point, The only way you win or loose is if you fight. Kick Ass!

Hi Anna,

I definitely have small muscle movement problems. I am working with my Physical Therapist about it, we are working on muscle movement planning. He has me do things like playing patty cake, catch, I have a wii, and find it very helpful. Oh, at PT we do alot of things that correlate to my life, like planning how to get thru a corridor without hitting the walls or using them for balance., He sometimes sets up mazes on a table top with a central path, and I slide weights thru, like driving a car or walking on a sidewalk. Often he moves the objects. I hope it will get better with practice, but also important is knowing what movements take extra concentration.

You mentioned speedy movements, it made me smile because, I have been doing yoga, and I have a hard time keeping up, I have to think about it too much. But I know it helps balance, so I keep going.

I think just don't give up, keep doing stuff you like.


I had to learn to use a knife safely first. I cannot achieve any sort of speed, my hands won't do it. Then I saw a TV show by Gordon Ramsey the chef and he said work on accuracy and forget the speed. I cut accurately now albeit very slowly. I used to play the guitar but now cannot, that is the biggest blow to me. I still have 2 guitars and will not part with them. I did find that when I just did slow scale practice that my hands became a lot steadier. I could even carry a cup of coffee without spilling it. However I became so tired when doing it I had to stop. I love cooking and baking and at the moment my Ataxia does not interfere with that. Downside is my wife is always complaining about getting fat. Can't win 8-) .

I have been cooking for 30 years but now I have to start earlier and earlier.All the recipes are in my head but all the time is spent clearing the mess I have made everywhere. Putting the ingredients together is the easy bit .You should see the mess I make of the scales.We had to get a new ataxia friendly pair of scales as by the time I had got all the ingrediets,or even one the scales had gone off and I had to start again.

I have to remember so many things when I go into the kitchen its like an expedition.

With choppping much slower. Can't even see the ruddy carrot-looks a bit like a finger!!

dishing up is my biggest challenge - Ken usually does it for me .. especially from the slow cooker.


I bought a hand exerciser to strengthen my fingers and my grip. It's called "grip master". Amazon sells them. I believe we need to exercise to fight the deterioration we're facing! It won't help when the nerves fail, but being stronger can't be a bad thing.

I know what you mean Patsy and Julie.I have to now wait for my husband to come fromm work to dish up.Everything ends up on the floor.

It is not easy to balance and grip at the same time especially when your remaining muscles are getting weaker.

We have a good laugh at the shattered baked potatoes which have usually been dropped on the floor especially at that vulnerable moment from oven to plate.

Yes, I was diagnosed with ataxia 10 years ago and definitely have dexterity/fine motor skill problems. My neurologist tells me to stay as active as I can (safely of course), and to keep doing exercises for strength and balance. If you don't use it, you lose it! I'm very slow in anything I do, but VERY determined...,ha! ;o)

Yes, a whole range of difficulties, never be surprised what Ataxia can throw at you

that's the style, go girl !

rose said:

Yes, I was diagnosed with ataxia 10 years ago and definitely have dexterity/fine motor skill problems. My neurologist tells me to stay as active as I can (safely of course), and to keep doing exercises for strength and balance. If you don't use it, you lose it! I'm very slow in anything I do, but VERY determined...,ha! ;o)

Me too! I could work at a bar shaking drinks somedays. I frequently need my wife to carry my drink or I may splash some on the floor. Try putting sugar in your coffee (but not on the counter)! My biggest offender is my right arm (and I am right handed). For now I have stopped playing golf. I now use an electric toothbrush and am restricted to low speed (45 or under) driving.

Try holding your elbows to your trunk - the extra contact helps me with some activities like cutting and driving.

I am living in a retirement apartment and we have 'events/classes' in the communal room,

I have recently joined an art class and started with drawing. I could never draw at school but am really surprised to find that with the right guidance, I can sketch.

I certainly have the best attendance record .. I was the only student there this morning LOL.

Patsy ;)

Here's a funny story (true...mine)

I was walking up the stairs in my usual slow, clump, pause,dragging sound then loud slap sound. Another words: the sound my feet make when I'm going up some stairs.

It occurred to me, that if this was an audio recording, they could use it in a scary movie for the bad guy coming after the frightened victim! Movie makers don't mean to imply that folks with ataxia are bad or monsters, but it made me laugh at the thought of it!

Look out! "When Ataxians Attack!" coming soon to a theater near you. Ha ha!

yes I think that too - especially with sound of sticks on hard surface!



Now I know the name for it: dysdiadochokinesia. Something to study again...

had to google that

an inability to perform rapidly alternating movements, such as rhythmically tapping the fingers on the knee. The cause is a cerebellar lesion and is related to dysmetria, which also involves inappropriate timing of muscle activity.


Hi Anna,

I also have very shaky hands and my handwriting is unreadable. I have to have my co-workers write notes I need to leave for other people. I love to cook but when it comes to slicing veggies or fruit it takes me a long time. My husband helps me with that. Just be careful when it comes to using a knife. I've come close to slicing off my fingers. My mom bought me a chopper for chopping and slicing veggies and that's help alot. Even before me and my mom were diagnosed with Ataxia last year, my handwriting was bad. My neurologist told me that my Ataxia is not only affecting my gait and speech, it's affecting small movements (like handwriting). My mom just started having the shakiness in her hands but her balance is really bad and she walks with a cane. I find if I try quickly cut something with a knife or try to write a short note, my hands a shaking more. Don't stop what you love doing but just be careful!

My husband has problems with writing now too. He cannot read his own writing. He fell last week and broke his shoulder and when you use both arms for balance it makes getting around even more difficult. So wish there was a cure!!!

Hi Anna, Yes, I think it's a common thread in those with ataxia to have "uncoordinated" movements, due to one place, the cerebellum, that ataxia originates from. I have fine motor skill problems with everything I try to do, from writing, to slicing, to buttoning, to putting on earrings or a necklace or make-up, whatever. Sometimes my fingers get tremors. And that's just my arms and hands. My balance is really compromised (I use a cane). My legs/feet have a mind of their own...,ha! Keep as active as you safely can, as that will help your ataxia, even if (like me), it takes you forever to do things! I laughed at what Julie Hahn said...,LOL! ;o)