Mobility Aids & Orthotic Devices for Muscular Dystrophy

NYU Langone specialists help people with all types of muscular dystrophy to preserve their independence as muscles weaken by providing mobility aids and orthotic devices.

Mobility Aids

Many people with muscular dystrophy eventually need help moving around. Doctors at NYU Langone can recommend mobility aids to help children, adolescents, and adults maintain the ability to move and walk.

Common types of mobility aids include wheelchairs, canes, and walkers. Canes and walkers can help you continue to walk some of the time or in certain environments. They can also reduce fatigue and the risk of falling. Wheelchairs and motorized scooters are helpful when it becomes difficult or impossible to walk due to muscle deterioration.

Orthotic Devices

Depending on the type of muscular dystrophy, your doctor may recommend orthotic devices to help with mobility. An orthotic device is a brace made to support weakened muscles. Braces can help keep the muscles flexible, which aids in slowing the progression of contractures, which occur when a muscle and its tendon shorten and reduce flexibility. 

Braces can also assist you in making the movements necessary for walking. By giving extra support in the appropriate places, such as at the ankle, orthotic devices can extend the amount of time a person with muscular dystrophy walks independently. 

People can wear orthotic devices during the day, at night, or both. The type of device your doctor recommends depends on the type of muscular dystrophy and the muscles involved. For example, a child with Duchenne muscular dystrophy may wear braces on the feet and ankles to maintain his or her gait. A person with myotonic muscular dystrophy, however, may wear a wrist support to hold the hands in position while typing or writing.

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