Have You Considered Using a Mobility Aid?
Some people with RA may never need a mobility aid, while others rely on them for their day-to-day activities. Others use mobility aids only to help them through the worst of their flares and are able to go on without them when their disease is in remission.
What kind of mobility aids are helpful also vary from person to person. Just because one person with the disease relies on a wheelchair does not mean that a newly diagnosed person should, consequently, expect to be in a wheelchair. It is all very individualistic and dependent on the person and their disease activity.
The following are some mobility aids that may be helpful.
1. Car Adaptions
Many people who have RA are able to continue driving as normal, but some may have to change things up in order to keep their independence. For some, it is incredibly difficult to operate a stick shift with RA and it may be necessary to change to an automatic transmission. Power steering and central locking may also make it easier for the driver.
2. Parking Permit
Talk to your doctor about getting a special handicapped permit if you have issues walking long distances. This may be a permanent or temporary measure, but will help out tremendously in the long run. This way, you can save yourself the trouble of having to walk great distances when you’re out running errands, making things a lot easier on you.
3. Wrist Splints
While they may not seem like a mobility aid, many people with RA need them in order to get around. When RA affects the wrists, it can be very painful to be moving them, so splints can allow the wearer to go about their daily tasks, just with splints on. This may help people accomplish daily errands and other tasks like driving or operating a wheelchair.
4. Cane or a Walker
Those with severe flares or more serious forms of RA may find that using a cane or walker can help take the stress off of their legs or hips by giving them something else to lean on. A cane or a walker is great for help ease pain on hips, knees and other joints in the body, and can be used temporarily of permanently.
Especially during a flare a cane or walker can help give your body a much needed rest. Walkers and canes, however, can prove very challenging for those who suffer from pain in the hands and wrists as well, making it very difficult to use one and lean on the cane with full force.
However, canes and walkers can be very beneficial for people who have difficulty with their feet and ankles as it can keep them steadier and reduce the risk of a fall. Those whose RA is more severe may prefer a walker with wheels to reduce the strain of having to pick it up over and over again.