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.
A person with primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) may first see a doctor because of leg weakness or trouble walking. Those are the most common symptoms of this type of MS.
Once it starts, PPMS gets worse over time. How fast it happens or how much disability a person will have varies a lot, so it’s hard to predict. Unlike some other types of MS, there are no relapses or remissions.
Ten percent to 15% of people with multiple sclerosis have this type of the disease. They usually get their...
Orthotics: These are lightweight inserts you wear inside your shoes that can keep you more stable and ease fatigue. They also can brace your feet, which helps if you have spasticity in your feet.
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.