We have talked about devices that assist people with foot drop, but what do you do when your leg becomes so weak in the hip flexor or knee flexor muscles that you can not lift the leg well enough to bring it forward while walking or going up and down steps? Or if you fatigue so rapidly that you can not walk for more than a short distance? One possible solution is the Hip Flexion Assist Device (HFAD) shown in this picture.
Essentially this is a strong weight lifting belt with two attached elastic bungee cords that attach to your shoe. Make sure you order the type with a horizontal connecting strap that goes behind the knee. The mechanical principle of the device is simple; extending the leg at the hip loads the bungee cord so that when you attempt to bring the leg forward, the cord contracts and helps lift the leg at the hip.
Now it may not be the most attractive contraption but it does work and is relatively cost effective. You will need a prescription from your doctor and some training on the use of the device by your physical therapist. If you are interested in learning more, go to the following site for information: http://www.beckerortho.com/AffiliatedCompanies/BTMRehab/Btmhfad.html
A growing number of our MS clients reside in rental properties, very often the result of the current housing market combined with the financial burden of living with this condition.
Although the American Disabilities Act was implemented a number of years ago it has been difficult to enforce. Hence, many rentals are not fully accessible. Many landlords are very accommodating, but some are a bit reluctant to make the necessary modifications to their property for many obvious reasons. The owners of these properties have to look at the costs of the modifications and also possible tenant turnover after these changes have been made.
With many of the advances in product design and technology these problems can be overcome. For a large portion of the daily hurdles that an MS client runs up against, equipment has been invented and devised to overcome these obstacles. It is a matter of recognizing the issues and consulting professionals that are versed in this area.
These are just a number of simple products that come to mind, for example:
Threshold Ramps: Entrance to the home is step one. Aluminum and rubber ramps are available, the best one for your home will be determined by the height of the step and /or door sill. If it's only a 1" rise sometimes a thick door matt with double sided tape to secure it will suffice. See ezaccess.com or pvi.com
Floor To Ceiling Transfer Poles: This allows a person to get from 'sit to stand' easier, assuming their upper extremity strength is sufficient and they can transfer safely. The beauty of this item is that it can be strategically placed next to a bed, chair, or a toilet to assist the client, with little or no effect on the property. See healthcraftproducts.com or medline.com
Non Permanent Support Rails: many are made for the bed, tub, and toilet areas. There are clamp on, suction, and bed frame mounted rail systems. Again with no damage to the property.
Double Door Hinges: Very often a inch or two of doorway clearance can be the difference between accessing a room or not when using a mobility device, especially bathrooms. These hinges allow the door to swing behind the door buck gaining as much as 2 to 3 inches in added clearance. This is an inexpensive way to widen a doorway without removing the door or construction. See Home Depot, Lowes or pattersonmedical.com
These are just a few examples of items that are available. Please work with your local PT, OT, and ATP to determine your specific needs. Some of these items are covered by insurances and/or can be written off your taxes as a medical expense if prescribed.
Fight On, Big Love.....Tom Mellor ATP
The medical information and opinions on this site are provided as an information resource only, and are not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. The information and opinions expressed do not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. Please consult your health care provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition.