mobility impairment - All health - Medical Reference Library and Symptom Finder
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mobility impairment

Mobility impairment can include any or all of the following:
  • inability to move about as easily as others
  • limited movement of arms or legs
  • decrease in strength or control of the muscles and bones
  • abnormal or impaired co-ordination
  • medical condition requiring bed rest
What is the information for this topic?
Impairment means some part of a person's body or mind does not function normally. To be an impairment, the problem must interfere with "normal" activities. There are many different mobility impairments.

Some things that determine the level of impairment are:
  • a decrease of strength or endurance
  • the presence of pain or discomfort
  • impaired ability to recognise familiar surroundings
  • depression or severe anxiety
  • impaired ability to use the muscles. This impaired ability may be from nervous system problems or from problems with the muscles or bones.
There are many reasons why a person may not be able to function as usual. A mobility impairment may be due to a wide variety of conditions, illnesses, or injuries. These may include: Some of these conditions may be temporary but many are permanent. A permanent mobility impairment may result in the permanent need for assistive devices such as a cane, crutches, a walker or a wheelchair.

Physiotherapy is often used for many of these problems. This can keep the joints flexible, and the muscles stretched. Therapy may improve the ability to move about, and teach the person to use the assistive devices.

If the mobility is due to an amputation, artificial limbs can help the person return to daily activities. Some people are severely disabled, and may need to always rely on assistive devices for daily activities.

Generally people prefer to be as independent as possible. It is best for others to ask permission before helping someone with an impairment. Someone who uses a wheelchair may be especially sensitive about this. It is important not to push a person's wheelchair without asking his or her permission. One should also not lean on a person's wheelchair during conversation.

Author: Joy Householder, RN, CCM
Reviewer: HealthAnswers Australia Medical Review Panel
Editor: Dr David Taylor, Chief Medical Officer HealthAnswers Australia
Last Updated: 1/10/2001
Potential conflict of interest information for reviewers available on request

This website and article is not a substitute for independent professional advice. Nothing contained in this website is intended to be used as medical advice and it is not intended to be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes or as a substitute for your own health professional's advice.  All Health and any associated parties do not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information.


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