Assistive devices are tools that can make life with multiple sclerosis a little easier. They help you with tasks like walking, dressing, and bathing, and help you use less energy. An occupational or physical therapist can recommend devices that will help you the most and teach you how to use them.
Always talk with your doctor or therapist before you use any assistive device.
Mobility Aids for MS
Some of these devices may help you get around:
Leg braces: Weakness in your leg muscles can make it harder to go up and down stairs, rise from a chair, or walk. An ankle-foot brace can keep your ankle stable when you have trouble with the muscles that raise the foot. It fits into a regular shoe and keeps your toes from dragging. If you have muscle weakness in your neck, a neck brace may make you more comfortable.
Canes: One of these 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 tips for using one:
- Hold the cane on the stronger side of your body while your weight is shifted away from your weaker side.
- A quad, or four-legged, cane can give you more stability than a standard one.
It's a good idea to have a session with a physical therapist to learn how to properly use your cane or any other assistive device.
Walkers: These are best if you have a lot of leg weakness or a balance problem. You can add wheels or platforms to the walker if you need to.
Wheelchairs or scooters: They can give you more freedom to go where you need to if it’s getting harder for you to get around on your own. They’re usually best if you have serious fatigue, are very unsteady on your feet, or you fall some times.
Aids for Everyday Tasks
There are a lot of ways to make everyday tasks easier and less tiring. Talk to your physical or occupational therapist about trying some of the following tools.
- Tub bench
- Hand-held shower head
- Grab bars in the shower or tub
Using the Toilet
- Bedside commode
- Grab bars near the toilet
- Toilet seat with armrests (you can put a raised seat over a regular toilet)
- Velcro, buttons, zippers, and hooks on clothing
- Sock pull
- Long-handled shoehorn
- A stool to sit while you get dressed
- Utility cart with wheels
- Electric can opener
- Pot stabilizer
- Reacher devices
- Special utensils, such as large-handled spoons and forks, rocker knives, and “sporks” (a mix of a spoon and fork)
- Plate guard
- Wrist supports
- Special grips for pens and pencils
- Wrist supports
- Electric beds or mattresses