Multiple Sclerosis Home > MS and Mobility

A variety of assistive devices are available to help people with MS maintain mobility and independence. These devices range from braces and canes to scooters and power wheelchairs. A physical therapist or other healthcare professional will assess your MS and mobility needs when making a recommendation as to a power mobility device.

MS and Mobility: An Overview

Many individuals who have multiple sclerosis (MS) begin to have difficulty with their mobility as the disease progresses. Factors that can affect MS and mobility include:
  • Changes in vision
  • Decreased balance
  • Increased spasticity
  • Muscle weakness
  • Changes in sensation
  • A combination of these symptoms.
When a decline in leg function occurs, individuals may benefit from assistive devices such as:
  • Braces
  • Canes
  • Crutches
  • Walkers
  • Wheeled walkers
  • Manual wheelchairs.
But when is it time to transition to a scooter or power wheelchair?

Using Power Mobility Devices

The goals of using power mobility devices are to:
  • Maximize access to the home and community
  • Maintain safety
  • Conserve energy.
There are several factors that should be considered when transitioning to power mobility devices. The first is your current functional status. You may have an increase in the number of falls due to muscle weakness and fatigue or loss of balance within the home or community, despite using assistive devices.
Another common change is a decrease in the ability to complete self-care tasks and important activities of daily living due to generalized fatigue. This can also be due to impaired fine motor skills and the visual changes that fatigue can cause.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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