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Assistive Devices for Multiple Sclerosis

There is a variety of assistive devices that can help you manage the symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS). An assistive device is a tool or product that makes a certain function easier to perform. An occupational or physical therapist can prescribe these devices.

Below find a list of assistive devices and equipment that are available.

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Mobility Aids for Multiple Sclerosis

Orthotics: Orthotics are lightweight inserts worn inside the shoes that can be used to increase stability and decrease fatigue. Orthotics can help with spasticity in the foot and can help brace the foot.

Leg braces: Weakness of the leg muscles may make it more difficult to maneuver on stairs, rise from a chair, or walk. An ankle-foot brace can stabilize the ankle when there is weakness in the foot muscles. This brace fits into an ordinary shoe and prevents the toes from dragging. If muscle weakness occurs in the neck, a neck brace may be recommended to make you more comfortable.

Canes: A cane may be the most useful tool when one leg is weaker than the other, or when you have mild problems with balance. Here are some guidelines for cane use:

  • The cane should be held on the stronger side of the body while the weight is shifted away from the weaker side.
  • A quad cane (or four-legged cane) provides more stability than a standard cane.

It is a good idea to have a session with a physical therapist to learn how to properly use your cane.

Walkers: Walkers may be more appropriate when there is significant leg weakness. They can also provide support for maintaining balance. Wheels or platforms may be added to the walker if necessary.

Wheelchairs or scooters: Wheelchairs or power scooters may provide more independence. These are usually recommended when a person experiences excessive fatigue, unsteadiness, or occasional falls. A scooter can add a great deal of independence for a person with limited mobility.

Aids for Activities of Daily Living

Bathing

  • Tub bench
  • Hand-held shower head
  • Grab bars installed in shower/tub

Toileting

  • Bedside commode
  • Grab bars near toilet
  • Toilet seat with armrests (a raised seat with armrests can be placed over a regular toilet)

Dressing

  • Velcro, buttons, zippers, and hooks on clothing
  • Sock pull
  • Long-handled shoehorn
  • Buttonhook
  • A stool for sitting while dressing

Cooking

  • Microwave oven
  • Wheeled utility cart
  • Electric can opener
  • Pot stabilizer

Eating

  • Specialized utensils, such as large-handled spoons and forks, or ''sporks,'' and rocker knives
  • Plate guard
  • Wrist supports

Writing

  • Special grips for pens and pencils
  • Wrist supports

Sleeping

  • Electric beds or mattresses

Miscellaneous

  • Reacher devices
  • Grab bars

Resources for Assistive Devices and Equipment

ABLEDATA

8630 Fenton Street, Suite 930
Silver Spring, MD 20910
1-800-227-0216 (Voice) or (301) 608-8912 (TTY)
E-mail: abledata@orcmacro.com
A federally funded service to inform consumers about available products.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Richard Senelick, MD on August 30, 2012
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