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Some people with arthritis find it difficult to move around and need to use a mobility aid, such as a walking stick or a wheelchair. It might seem hard to accept that you need help to get around, but try to see this as an aid to enabling you to get on with day-to-day living rather than a sign of weakness.
An occupational therapist or physiotherapist can advise you on the best equipment for your needs and whether any help is available from social services.You can try out different mobility aids at your local Disabled Living Centre.
Walking sticks are useful if you need a little extra stability when walking. Many different types are available, from simple metal or wooden sticks to sticks with a three or four pronged base for extra stability.
Many walking sticks are fairly lightweight, and some can also fold up making them easier to store and transport.
Walking frames – or zimmer frames – can be a useful means of support although some can be difficult to manoeuvre. To move with a walking frame involves lifting and moving forward. Some walking frames come with wheels so that they can be pushed forward.
There are two types of crutches – ones that you put under your arms and ones that rest under your elbows and forearms. Underarm crutches are used to avoid putting weight on your legs whereas elbow crutches are used if you are able to put some weight on your legs.
type of wheelchair you use will depend on your needs. Someone whose
arthritis does not affect their hands or arms might want to use a
self-propelled wheelchair whereas someone whose hands are affected
might find it easier to use an electric wheelchair. For those who only
need to use a wheelchair occasionally, one that can be pushed by
someone else might be the best solution.
If you need to use a wheelchair indoors, you may have to consider making changes to your home, such as wider doorways and lower light switches.
There are schemes available to help you get around if you are disabled. The Motability scheme can help you with obtaining a powered wheelchair or scooter if you are getting the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance.
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