Mobility difficulties are defined as a category of disability that includes people with varying types of physical disabilities. This type of disability includes upper or lower limb loss or disability, manual dexterity and disability in co-ordination with different organs of the body. This problem could also be the consequence of disease. People who have a broken skeletal structure also fall into this category of disability.

Mobility is related to changes in a person's body as they age as well. Loss in muscle strength and mass, less mobile and stiffer joints, as well as gait changes affect a person's balance and may significantly comprise their mobility. Mobility is crucial to the maintenance of independent living among Seniors. If a person's mobility is restricted, it may affect their activities of daily living.

The characteristics of mobility difficulties involve many different things.

Persons with mobility difficulties may cause deficits in motor and/or fine motor functioning, locomotor and non-locomotor functioning. Mobility difficulties may experience stiffness and/or spasticity, as well as loss of muscle strength. People with mobile difficulties may need help with activities of daily living. These impairments may require prolonged bed rest, and have medical restrictions. They may have musculoskeletal or neuromuscular impairments as well.

Mobility Impairments Include:

Cerebral Palsy

The term, 'Cerebral Palsy,' is used to describe a group of chronic conditions which affect body movements and muscle coordination in persons affected with the disorder. Cerebral Palsy causes damage to one or more particular areas of the person's brain, and usually occurs during fetal development or before, during, or shortly after birth; although the damage may be done during infancy. Cerebral Palsy disorders are not caused by problems in the person's nerves or muscles. Faults in the development or damage to motor areas in the person's brain disrupt their brain's ability to control posture and movement. Cerebral Palsy is not progressive, although secondary conditions like muscle spasticity may develop that can worsen or improve over time, or may remain the same. Cerebral Palsy is not a communicable disease. Cerebral Palsy is not curable, but therapy and training may help to improve function.

Spina Bifida

Spina Bifida is a form of neural tube defect. Neural tube defects involve incomplete development of the brain, spinal cord, and/or their protective coverings, which are caused by the failure of the fetus' spine to close properly during the first month of pregnancy. Children who are born with Spina Bifida may have an open lesion on their spine where notable damage to their nerves and spinal cord has happened. The nerve damage is permanent, although the opening in the spine can be surgically repaired. The damage to the child's nerves may result in various degrees of paralysis in their lower limbs. In cases where there is no lesion present there is still the potential for the presence of improperly formed or missing vertebrae, as well as nerve damage. Persons with Spina Bifida often experience a form of learning disability in conjunction with physical and mobility disability. There is currently no cure for Spina Bifida; the nerve tissue can neither be repaired nor replaced. Treatment for Spina Bifida may involve surgery, physiotherapy, and medication. Many persons with Spina Bifida use assistive devices including braces, crutches, or wheelchairs.

Muscular Dystrophy

'Muscular Dystrophy,' describes a group of genetic diseases which are characterized by progressive weakness and degeneration of the person's skeletal or voluntary muscles used to control movement. Heart muscles, as well as some additional, involuntary muscles, are affected by some forms of Muscular Dystrophy. Some forms of Muscular Dystrophy affect a person's organs as well. Duchenne is the form of Muscular Dystrophy that affects children most commonly; Myotonic Muscular Dystrophy is the most common form of the disease affecting adult populations. There are some forms of Muscular Dystrophy that appear in infancy or childhood, while other forms may not appear until a person reaches middle age or older. Muscular Dystrophy has the potential to affect persons of any age group. There is no specific treatment for any form of Muscular Dystrophy. Both Physical therapy and corrective orthopedic surgery may improve a person's quality of life.

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