Cerebral Palsy Mobility Aids

Cerebral palsy frequently affects muscle formation resulting in a high prevalence of mild to severe mobility impairment in afflicted individuals. To improve mobility and participation in familial, communal, and public activities, physical therapists prescribe a range of mobility aids in conjunction with other medical treatments with the intention of improving the overall physical function of the patient, while also being cognizant of the mobility and comfort needs of these individual patients as well.

Particularly in the case of cerebral palsy patients, mobility aids are available with high degrees of customization to allow for the extensive variation involved with the presentation and severity of cerebral palsy symptoms. Additionally, as patients age, treatment often necessitates multiple interventions and medical re-evaluations as medications and therapies affect the management of the disorder’s symptoms and growth renders past treatments ineffective or obsolete.

Initial Gait Analysis Procedures Performed Preceding Mobility Aid Implementation

Gait analysis observes the holistic effects of the patient’s unique walking method; particularly, medical professionals aim to pinpoint the sources of stress, pain and injury. Through a battery of medical assessments, physical therapists, and medical technicians determine the severity of the disorder in addition to identifying useful improvement and treatment techniques applicable to the afflicted individual.

During gait analysis, patients walk in a natural fashion on rail-supported surfaces while physicians record the process with infrared and video cameras. In conjunction with electrode sensors attached to the patient during recording, the specialized cameras track vital movement data for later insightful analysis.

Medical professionals may monitor the afflicted individual’s oxygen consumption through facial masks worn during motion analysis. Furthermore, when necessary, clinicians utilize force plate flooring to measure the patient’s plantar pressure. Following this intensive data collection process, the gait analysis medical team analyzes the compiled data determines the sources of malformation or malfunction and begins developing individualized treatment strategies, including applicable mobility aids.

Mobility Solutions for Mild to Moderate Physical Impairments Related to Cerebral Palsy

The patient’s applicable range of mobility aids depends nearly exclusively on the particular classification of their diagnosis and the severity of manifested symptoms. Cerebral palsy is not a progressive neurological disorder; however, an individual’s growth often serves to exacerbate existing conditions, improve strength and body function or introduce new challenges to mobility such as growth spurts limiting caretakers’ ability to move the afflicted individual effectively without assistance.

Mild to moderate instances of the disorder frequently necessitates inexpensive or simple aids including canes, braces, and walkers. Canes outrank other aids for indoor/outdoor versatile, but mobility support braces lead to greater physical activity as walkers provide substantial support while retaining significant levels of mobility. Commonly, physical therapists insist on the use of multiple aids simultaneously to maximize the patient’s mobility and encourage the development of a healthy gait in their formative years. For example, medical practitioners often prescribe braces in conjunction with canes or walkers for a holistic treatment of multiple gait issues.

Practical Aids for Severe Mobility Impairments Resulting from Cerebral Palsy

When cerebral palsy fully impairs meaningful movement of the legs, treatment may require utilizing manual or powered wheelchairs. Afflicted individuals are retaining significant upper body strength and control pair well with manual options, which include a greater instance of features like retractable or removable arms.

Moreover, manual products typically suit travel or mobile lifestyles as these particular aids are known for generally collapsing for easy storage and feature lightweight structures. Conversely, individuals with little control over their arms and hands see greater benefits from motor powered options. Powered wheelchair products weigh from 200 to 300 hundred pounds, which may serve to inhibit easy transportation and travel; however, recent market models feature lightweight designs with high weight capacities. Individuals frequently moving in outdoor spaces require specialized models with strong builds and rugged wheels, but standard models still feature quick speeds and ergonomic designs, rendering them highly effective for many cerebral palsy patients.

 

References:

 

https://www2.humboldt.edu/disability/disabilityspecificresources-mobility

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3314773/

 

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