Mobility Devices

Muscular dystrophy is a group of genetic conditions characterized by progressive muscle wasting and loss of muscle function. Different muscle types may be affected by different types of muscular dystrophy.

How muscular dystrophy affects mobility

As muscular dystrophy progresses, skeletal muscles weaken and cause spasms and painful muscle cramps, which may lead to loss of muscle control and stability. Loss of muscle strength and subsequent fatigue may cause walking difficulties. In some cases, weakness in the muscles of the torso can lead to a curved spine or scoliosis, which can affect posture and contribute to mobility issues.

Importance of staying active

Movement is essential to keep joints flexible, and to help preserve and improve muscle strength. It can also help slow disease progression.

Mobility devices and other aids and adaptations can assist patients in walking/moving, socializing, and remaining mobile for as long as possible.

Transitioning to the use of mobility aids can be challenging, potentially causing anxiety, depression, and concerns about disease progression. Patients should discuss their needs and questions with a healthcare team that can help ease the transition.

Examples of mobility aids

A trained physiotherapist or occupational therapist can help identify a suitable mobility aid based on a patient’s needs and guide the patient on how to use it.

Examples of mobility aids:

  • Canes
  • Walkers
  • Manual or power wheelchairs
  • Motorized scooters
  • Strollers

Walkers and canes can reduce the stress on muscles, reduce fatigue, help patients take intermittent walks, and provide support to prevent falls.

However, as a patient’s muscle tissues continue to break down, mobility may be severely affected. In such cases, wheelchairs, scooters, and strollers can be useful.

Because new mobility aids can be expensive, programs such as the national equipment program of the Muscular Dystrophy Association provides patients with access to used mobility devices at affordable prices.


Last updated 07/16/2019


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 providers 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.