Mobility comes naturally to most people but for others, it can be challenging to carry out basic tasks on their own. Due to this, there are various mobility aids that help to assist people who need an extra hand in getting around independently.
Mobility impairment is a branch of disability that affects the movement of gross motor skills such as walking to finer motor movements such as holding objects by hand. For now, you may be wondering what is considered a mobility impairment and what the types are. If you’d like to learn more about it, feel free to continue reading down below.
What is a Mobility Impairment?
A mobility impairment is a disability that affects your physical movement. People with a mobility impairment will generally have a hard time using one or more of their extremities and have a lack of strength to walk, lift, or grasp objects.
Impaired strength, speed, manual dexterity, coordination and endurance can equate to alternative methods of carrying out tasks such as reading, writing, note-taking and more. Meanwhile, for an impaired range of motion and control of limbs, you may need to have mobility aids such as walkers, wheelchairs or crutches to assist you.
What Causes Mobility Impairments?
Mobility impairment can be caused by conditions at birth or as a result of illness or physical injury, the latter of which can cause different types of mobility impairments depending on the damage done to the spine. Some causes of mobility impairment include the following:
- Amputation of one or more limbs as a result of trauma or other serious conditions.
- Arthritis, which causes inflammation in the body’s joints along with pain, swelling and difficulty in body mobility.
- Back disorders, which limit a person’s ability to sit, stand, bend over, walk or carry objects. Some examples of back disorders include scoliosis, herniated disks or degenerative disk disease.
- Cerebral palsy, which is a result of brain damage before or shortly after birth. This condition can prevent walking due to a lack of muscle co-ordination, spasms and speech difficulties.
- Neuromuscular disorders such as muscular dystrophy, ataxia and multiple sclerosis that degenerate and cause atrophy in muscle or nerve tissues.
What are the Types of Mobility Impairments?
As previously described, mobility impairments can be a result of conditions at birth or major injuries. Three examples of common types of mobility impairments include the following:
Absent Limb/Reduced Limb Function
A person can be born without limbs due to a birth defect, a result of an accident or through amputation due to existing disease conditions. At birth, a limb reduction can occur if the limb is reduced from its normal size or is completely missing. This often occurs when the foetus is unable to fully form during pregnancy. The exact cause of limb defects is unknown but the behaviours of the mother during pregnancy can be a factor.
Meanwhile, there are people that can lose limbs in extreme accidents such as road accidents, frostbite, attack by animals and accidents. Amputation can also be used for other reasons such as improving blood circulation or removing cancerous body parts.
Arthritis is a joint disorder that inflames one or more of the body’s joints. A common form of arthritis is known as osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease that results from joint trauma, joint infection or old age. Other arthritic conditions include rheumatoid arthritis, septic arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and other autoimmune diseases.
Cerebral palsy, which is often described as brain paralysis, is a medical condition where the brain’s motor area is damaged because of development issues. It can also be caused by injury, trauma or illness that occurs before a baby is born, during the birth process or shortly after birth. These causes are not definite; however, it is not a hereditary disorder and it is not contagious.
Mobility impairments can be a result of various conditions, whether it be at birth or due to circumstances such as accidents, injuries or more. Due to this, there are various mobility aids to support people that experience difficulties getting by on their own.