Assistive Devices for Peripheral Neuropathy: Regaining Stability and Independence

Each year, approximately 36 million individuals experience falls, leading to approximately 32,000 fatalities. In the United States alone, 3 million older adults seek medical treatment for injuries caused by avoidable accidents resulting from falls. Peripheral neuropathy can pose a significant risk for those affected, as it often causes foot pain and numbness, increasing the likelihood of falling. As June marks National Safety Month, it is essential to explore strategies and assistive devices for individuals with peripheral neuropathy to live safely and independently.

Have you been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy? We can help.

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How does neuropathy affect balance?

There is a wide range of over 100 neuropathies, each presenting with unique symptoms. One such type is diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN), a progressive ailment characterized by sensations of pain, diminished sensitivity, and muscle weakness.

A common indication of diabetic peripheral neuropathy is the loss of balance, accompanied by unsteady and uncoordinated movements. The persistent elevation of blood sugar levels perpetuates nerve damage, leading to reduced or complete loss of sensation, consequently affecting various daily activities. Muscle weakness can further contribute to leg soreness, adversely impacting gait and balance.

Assistive devices to prevent falls

Incorporating assistive devices into your living spaces can play a crucial role in preventing falls and avoidable accidents. Implementing products like foot braces, orthopedic shoes and compression socks can effectively reduce discomfort and alleviate neuropathic pain, thus significantly lowering the risk of falls. These assistive devices offer valuable support and relief, ensuring a safer and more secure environment.

  • Cane or walker: Moving around can pose significant challenges when experiencing persistent foot pain and numbness. However, incorporating ambulatory aids like canes and walkers can provide valuable support, aiding in maintaining balance and stability. These assistive devices offer an extra level of support, making it easier to navigate from one place to another. Additionally, walkers can be adjusted to suit your height, ensuring a comfortable and inclusive experience while using them.
  • Wheelchairs: Wheelchairs offer individuals the chance to engage in mobility and social interactions with others. Approximately 65 million people across the globe rely on wheelchairs to address temporary or permanent disabilities. Tailoring a wheelchair to fit a person’s specific measurements has been shown to enhance not only their physical well-being but also their overall quality of life. By providing customized support, these wheelchairs play a vital role in promoting independence and facilitating active participation in various aspects of life.
  • Hand and foot braces: Hand and foot braces are effective in reducing pain associated with nerve compression, providing relief and support. These braces are particularly beneficial in addressing foot drop and balance issues, which are frequently experienced symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. By offering assistance and stability, these braces play a crucial role in managing the challenges posed by peripheral neuropathy, promoting improved comfort and mobility.
  • Handrail and bathmat: Peripheral neuropathy often leads to muscle weakness and unsteady movements. Installing handrails throughout the house and along staircases can offer essential support, preventing falls and enhancing stability. Bathrooms, in particular, present an increased risk of falls due to high humidity, moisture and soapy surfaces. By placing bath mats and installing grab bars around bathtubs or showers, individuals with peripheral neuropathy can gain additional grip and reduce the chances of accidents in the bathroom. These simple modifications can significantly improve safety and enhance peace of mind.
  • Orthopedic shoes and socks: Orthopedic shoes are designed to enhance mobility, alleviate pain and provide improved balance and support. These specialized shoes offer valuable benefits for individuals with peripheral neuropathy. Padded socks can provide relief to those experiencing pins and needles sensations in their feet, a common symptom of peripheral neuropathy. Furthermore, orthopedic socks infused with coolant gels can offer hours of comfort for individuals who face challenges in walking because of neuropathic pain. These cooling properties help ease discomfort and contribute to a more comfortable walking experience, promoting overall well-being for those with peripheral neuropathy.
  • Compression stockings: Compression stockings offer balanced pressure that supports the feet and provides soothing relief to damaged nerves. These stockings are designed to fit snugly, promoting optimal blood circulation in the feet. By improving circulation, compression stockings effectively ease the pain and discomfort associated with peripheral neuropathy.

Conclusion

Peripheral neuropathy can have a significant impact on balance, leading to unsteady movements and an increased risk of falls. However, incorporating assistive devices, such as foot braces, bathmats and orthopedic socks, can provide valuable support and relief. These devices help manage the challenges posed by peripheral neuropathy, enhance stability, reduce discomfort and promote a safer and more independent lifestyle. By utilizing these assistive devices, individuals with neuropathy can improve their balance, mobility, and overall well-being.

WinSanTor is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of treatments for peripheral neuropathies. We believe in creating a solution that works and brings relief to millions that are struggling with this disease. Learn more about our company, our drug and subscribe to our newsletter.

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FAQs

What are some assistive devices that can help prevent falls?

Incorporating assistive devices into your living spaces can play a crucial role in preventing falls and avoidable accidents. Implementing products like foot braces, orthopedic shoes and compression socks can effectively reduce discomfort and alleviate neuropathic pain, thus significantly lowering the risk of falls. These assistive devices offer valuable support and relief, ensuring a safer and more secure environment. A cane or walker, wheelchair, hand or foot brace, handrail and bathmat, orthopedic shoes and socks and compression stockings can all help lower the risk of falls.

How can a cane or walker help prevent falls?

Moving around can pose significant challenges when experiencing persistent foot pain and numbness. However, incorporating ambulatory aids like canes and walkers can provide valuable support, aiding in maintaining balance and stability. These assistive devices offer an extra level of support, making it easier to navigate from one place to another. Additionally, walkers can be adjusted to suit your height, ensuring a comfortable and inclusive experience while using them.

How do wheelchairs help prevent falls?

Wheelchairs offer individuals the chance to engage in mobility and social interactions with others. Approximately 65 million people across the globe rely on wheelchairs to address temporary or permanent disabilities. Tailoring a wheelchair to fit a person's specific measurements has been shown to enhance not only their physical well-being but also their overall quality of life. By providing customized support, these wheelchairs play a vital role in promoting independence and facilitating active participation in various aspects of life.

How do hand and foot braces help prevent falls?

Hand and foot braces are effective in reducing pain associated with nerve compression, providing relief and support. These braces are particularly beneficial in addressing foot drop and balance issues, which are frequently experienced symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. By offering assistance and stability, these braces play a crucial role in managing the challenges posed by peripheral neuropathy, promoting improved comfort and mobility.

How do handrails and bathmats help prevent falls?

Peripheral neuropathy often leads to muscle weakness and unsteady movements. Installing handrails throughout the house and along staircases can offer essential support, preventing falls and enhancing stability. Bathrooms, in particular, present an increased risk of falls due to high humidity, moisture and soapy surfaces. By placing bath mats and installing grab bars around bathtubs or showers, individuals with peripheral neuropathy can gain additional grip and reduce the chances of accidents in the bathroom. These simple modifications can significantly improve safety and enhance peace of mind.

How do orthopedic shoes and socks help prevent falls?

Orthopedic shoes are designed to enhance mobility, alleviate pain and provide improved balance and support. These specialized shoes offer valuable benefits for individuals with peripheral neuropathy. Padded socks can provide relief to those experiencing pins and needles sensations in their feet, a common symptom of peripheral neuropathy. Furthermore, orthopedic socks infused with coolant gels can offer hours of comfort for individuals who face challenges in walking because of neuropathic pain. These cooling properties help ease discomfort and contribute to a more comfortable walking experience, promoting overall well-being for those with peripheral neuropathy.

How do compression socks help prevent falls?

Compression stockings offer balanced pressure that supports the feet and provides soothing relief to damaged nerves. These stockings are designed to fit snugly, promoting optimal blood circulation in the feet. By improving circulation, compression stockings effectively ease the pain and discomfort associated with peripheral neuropathy.

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