Spina bifida is a congenital birth defect that affects the spinal cord and spine. Around 60-80 babies are born with spina bifida each year. Spina bifida can cause a range of physical and mobility-related challenges, but with the right support and mobility aids, individuals with spina bifida can lead active and independent lives.
What is Spina Bifida?
Spina bifida occurs when the neural tube, which forms the brain and spinal cord, does not close properly during fetal development. This can result in a range of physical and developmental challenges, including mobility issues. The severity of spina bifida can vary widely, from mild cases with minimal symptoms to more severe cases that can cause significant disability.
Mobility Challenges and Aids
Spina bifida can cause a range of mobility-related challenges, depending on the severity and location of the condition. Some of the most common mobility-related challenges associated with spina bifida include:
Balance issues: Spina bifida can affect an individual’s balance, making it more difficult to stand or walk without support.
Weakness or paralysis: Depending on the severity of the condition, spina bifida can cause weakness or paralysis in the legs or other parts of the body.
Urinary or bowel incontinence: Spina bifida can affect the nerves that control bladder and bowel function, leading to incontinence or difficulty controlling these functions.
There are a range of mobility aids and assistive devices that can help individuals with spina bifida overcome these challenges and lead active and independent lives. Some of the most common mobility aids and devices for individuals with spina bifida include:
Wheelchairs: Depending on the severity of the condition, individuals with spina bifida may require the use of a wheelchair to get around.
Crutches or walkers: For individuals with mild to moderate spina bifida, crutches or walkers can provide additional support and stability while walking.
Braces or orthotics: Braces or orthotics can help support and stabilize the legs and feet, improving balance and mobility.
Catheters: For individuals with urinary incontinence, catheters can be used to help manage bladder function.
Bowel management devices: There are a range of devices and products available to help manage bowel function in individuals with spina bifida.
It is important to work with a healthcare professional or mobility specialist to determine the best mobility aids and devices for your individual needs.