Muscular dystrophy is a neuromuscular condition that progressively weakens muscles so that patients may require the help of assistive devices to maintain mobility and independence. These aids and assistive devices should be used only in consultation with a trained occupational therapist or physiotherapist.
Canes, walkers, wheelchairs, and power scooters are some examples of mobility devices that may help enhance mobility and reduce fatigue in patients with muscular dystrophy. An occupational therapist will be able to determine the correct type of mobility device that can benefit each individual patient, depending on the patient’s needs.
Assistive devices for daily tasks
Some home modifications and simple devices can help muscular dystrophy patients maintain their independence and ability to perform daily tasks. Some examples include:
- Doorknob adapters that provide leverage to open doors
- Handlebars and lifts in bathrooms or walk-in showers that can make bathing easier
- Zippers instead of hooks and buttons to help facilitate dressing
- Customized utensils that enable the patients to dine on their own
- Pens and pencils with enlarged grips to reduce the pressure on hand muscles and help with legible writing
Patients with weak muscles and joints can benefit from body support devices or orthosis. These devices provide support to muscles and joints, enhance spine and limb movement, and help to improve quality of life.
As a patient’s muscular dystrophy progresses, the ankle muscles may become weak and cause walking difficulties. A simple brace or splint called ankle-foot orthosis can help patients walk and prevent falls.
Hand and wrist braces can facilitate the movement of fingers and provide additional support to grasp common items such as toothbrushes. These braces can also assist in computer work and thus help patients maintain their professional independence.
Slings can be used to support the neck and shoulders, reduce pressure on shoulder muscles, and help in lifting objects.
Assistive technology is a developing field of research which can help patients manage their specific abilities and needs using new apps and gadgets. For example, voice recording devices and newly developed apps to monitor movements and those that aid in multitasking can help patients in their work lives while improving their overall quality of life.
Muscular Dystrophy News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.