Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS) is a rare autoimmune disease characterized by muscle weakness, which usually starts in the feet and ankles — making walking difficult. Stumbling or falling as a result of muscle weakness can be dangerous, especially for older patients.
Many LEMS patients work with physical therapists to build muscle strength and maintain flexibility and range of motion for as long as possible. Physical therapists may also prescribe walking aids to assist patients in walking and reduce the risk of falls.
What are walking aids?
Some patients may need orthotic braces to make walking easier. These devices support the weak limb, such as a leg or ankle, and provide additional support.
For some patients, walking may be too risky so they may need a wheelchair or motorized scooter to get around.
How do I know if I need a walking aid?
If you think you may need a mobility aid, talk to your treatment team, including your primary care physician and physical therapist. Describe any mobility problems you have and when they occur, whether that be most of the time or only during specific exercises or tasks. Discuss the walking aids available and find out what’s recommended for you.
Your physical therapist can also help you practice with any prescribed mobility aid to ensure that it’s addressing your specific mobility problems, and check that you are using the aid correctly and safely.
Last updated: Jan. 3, 2020
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