Walking disabilities are more common than people think, and can be caused by a variety of conditions. People say that ‘you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone’ and when it comes to walking, this is definitely true. Those of us who have no problems with mobility take walking for granted, and there are many reasons why that freedom of movement may be limited.
Cerebral Palsy effects a person’s posture and walking, and is the most common childhood motor disability. It is caused by abnormal brain development, and symptoms can range from difficulty walking to stiff muscles, dyskinesia, and trouble maintaining balance. Cerebral Palsy is usually diagnosed during early childhood. Early detection is important to help the child live a happy, fulfilling life.
Multiple Sclerosis is another condition that can effect a person’s ability to walk. It effects the brain and the spinal cord. It is considered an autoimmune disease, because for those patients who have MS, their own immune system attacks their brain and spinal cord. As MS progresses, most patients at some point will need some kind of device to help them get around. It is always best to discuss options available with a patient’s doctor. Depending on the severity of MS symptoms, a cane or crutch, wheelchair, scooter, or walker may be used. If a patient is having problems getting to and from their home or doctors appointments, it may be time to look into mobility aids. There are also new medications that are available for some MS patients that can help prevent more damage to their brain and spinal cord, and increase their mobility.
There are over 30 types of muscular dystrophies, all which are genetic and cause weakness and damage to a patient’s muscles over time. People who suffer from Muscular Dystrophy don’t have adequate dystrophin, which is a protein essential to the muscles. Although the symptoms and severity depend on the type of Muscular Dystrophy a patient has, most patients who have it will eventually not be able to walk on their own and will require a wheelchair or a motorized scooter to help them get around.
For some patients, a walking disability may be caused by injury to the hips, legs, knees, or back. Old age also can slow down a person’s gait or require them to seek assistance from mobility aids. Broken bones, strains, open wounds, amputations, and torn ligaments or tendons can all require temporary assistance from crutches. Forearm crutch covers can be quite useful for these patients, as they are designed to make use of crutches less painful and more fashionable.