Jeremy Ohara

Jeremy Ohara

What does Episodic Mobility Mean? — Episodic Mobility Sensitization

  Sep 26, 2023
Reviewed by Ravinder Kaur

Amid this rapidly developing generation in which awareness is the key to evolving into a more sensitized human being, many new terms are rising to the surface. Growing more empathetic towards a vast array of disabilities has now become the norm. 

Following the same notion, this article is going to talk about episodic mobility. A type of mobility issue that has garnered a lot of mixed responses from people in general. 

There has been a widespread dialogue about what counts as a disability. This is why it is important to mention the names of famous people who have also been facing issues like episodic mobility because, unwittingly, they represent that section of the community. 

Following suit, the most prominent public figure known to face episodic mobility is Queen Elizabeth. It has been confirmed by Buckingham Palace that Queen Elizabeth was facing episodic mobility issues. However, she was never seen using a wheelchair. 

Queen Elizabeth walking with a ca

Episodes of Mobility – What is its Significance and Why is it Relevant

What is its Significance 

Episodic Mobility is a typically undiagnosed condition resulting in sporadic mobility episodes, rendering the patient immobile the rest of the time. Many stigmas attached to it as the people facing episodic mobility shy away from using mobility aids that can help alleviate their condition and help them move. One of the reasons behind this recoil is the sheer lack of awareness amongst the masses about the type of disabilities.

Why is it Relevant?

There is a broad spectrum of issues that can cause episodic mobility. Some of the factors that may chip into causing sporadic mobility can be termed as the following:

  • Neurological conditions
  • Aging process
  • Obesity
  • Injury
  • Mental health illness

Some other possible reasons that may cause this belittled condition could be dizzy spells, chronic back problems, dwindling postures, weakening of bones, and so on and so forth.

Symptoms of Early Stages of Episodic Mobility Problems 

Much like any other condition, episodic mobility also comes with a handful of symptoms. If you or your loved ones are undergoing these symptoms, they might be developing the condition of episodic mobility.

  • Unsteadiness while walking 
  • Trouble getting in and out of a chair 
  • Falls
  • Pain in the lower back
  • Neurological (brain and nervous system) difficulties 

For the aging population (not necessarily), the symptoms may also include:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Joint problems 
  • Inexplicable body aches 
  • Other diseases

Despite being an underestimated condition, the sheer fact is that episodic mobility issues can happen to anybody at any age. However, this condition does entail a fair bit of stigma around it for notoriously being a problem faced by old people. But is that the case? Does this thinking perpetuate a sense of scrutiny of how we view people with episodic mobility disabilities?

Not Judging a Person Challenged with Partial Immobility 

Many times, you might come across a person who uses mobility aids such as crutches, wheelchairs, scooters with supporting wheels, walkers, and rollators. And briefly, you might see them walking or standing upright without their mobility aid. That does not mean that they are faking their disability or are too lazy, or are mocking “actual” disabled people. 

People with episodic mobility require their mobility aids just as much as totally wheelchair-bound patients. Assumptions about their conditions must never be made because you never know the reason behind that person’s requirement for mobility aids. Maybe they experience frequent dizzy spells and cannot walk without support. Maybe their bone structure is weaker than that of a layman. A plethora of reasons could be there. This is why one must never assume and let these people be.

It is also noteworthy that if you see a person using a wheelchair, never start pushing their wheelchair by assuming you’re helping them. Your intentions may be in the right place, but it is deemed extremely rude to ‘help’ a presently immobile person without asking them first. If you really wish to help them, simply ask them if they need help. 

What Type of Mobility Aids Can Be Used by People with Episodic Mobility Ailments? 

When one faces difficulties with getting around with basic mobility, then they are already facing episodic mobility issues. It is pertinent to configure the right type of mobility aids in accordance with personal requirements.

A mobility aid is a device designed to help the person facing mobility issues gain a sense of movability. It aids in providing support to the person in moving around freely without being dependent on another person. 

To help you get acquainted with the varied types of mobility aids available, here’s a list for your reference:


A cane is a stick device that is designed to provide support to those who have problems with balance or stability, weakness in legs or trunk, an injury or chronic pain. Apart from providing balance, canes also widen your base of support and decrease weight-bearing pressure on your knee, hips, or legs.

A person holding a cane

Types of Canes Available

  • Single-Point Cane: The most common type of standard cane that has a single support point to its end. 
Two Old People Walking With Single Point Canes.
  • Multiple-Point Cane: A type of cane that has more than one ending point for extra support. It is also known as a quad cane and tripod cane. This type of cane provides more stable support for individuals who require more assistance with balancing. This type of cane provides the highest level of support to the individual. 
An old patient walking using aquad cane along w]ith the support of a doctor.
  • Folding Cane: This type of cane is designed in such a manner that makes it easy to carry in your bag. As the name suggests, the folding cane folds and becomes compact enough to store easily, making it extremely portable. An added advantage to these types of canes is that they offer adjustable height options.
Folding cane
  • Seat Cane: This type of cane comes with a single-point or a multiple-point bottom with a seat attached to it. Making this type of cane is ideal for those that struggle with walking on their own or may need to take breaks between their walks.
A woman sitting on a seat cane

Choosing the Right Cane

With this many variations of canes available, it gets tricky to choose the correct cane for yourself. If you’re considering getting a cane for yourself or your loved ones, please consider the steps mentioned in the graphic below before making your decision.

Steps to choose the right cane


A crutch is a disability aid that is used to support the armpit area of the injured or disabled person. It is structured in the form of a long stick with a crosspiece at the top. A crutch is an ideal aid to increase the size of an individual’s base of support. The weight is transferred from the legs to the upper body and is often used by people who cannot use their legs to support their weight.

An injured person walking with the support of crutches

Types of Crutches Available 

There are mainly three types of crutches available:

  • Underarm Crutches: Underarm crutches, also referred to as axilla crutches, are the most preferred type of crutches used. The placement of these crutches is on the underarm, and it can be adjusted according to the preferred height. Despite being easy to use and balanced, they can still lead to discomfort and fatigue over time.
An injured person using underarm crutches
  • Forearm Crutches: Also known as elbow crutches, these types of crutches contain a cuff that goes around your forearm and handles for your hand to get a firm grip. These crutches are mostly preferred by those who need long-term crutches.
A person sing forearm crutches along with it pros  mentioned on the left side
  • Gutter Crutches: Also known as platform crutches, gutter crutches consist of padded forearms and adjustable handles that provide support to individuals who need more sturdy balance from their crutches.
A person using gutter crutches.

Choosing The Right Crutches 

Every individual requires different durations or kinds of support from their mobility aids. This is why choosing the right crutch will depend on your circumstances, your requirements, and how much support you will need. 


As the name suggests, a manual wheelchair is operated and designed primarily in a manner for use by an individual with a mobility disability, injury, or some other reasons. Manual wheelchairs come in varied sizes, shapes, and styles to suit a variety of requirements of the users.

A person using a manual wheelchair

Types of Manual Wheelchairs Available:

There is a wide variety of wheelchairs readily available, and customizable as well. For your discretion, here’s a list of each type for you to make an informed decision:

  • Standard Wheelchair: A standard wheelchair is a most commonly used wheelchair. It weighs over 35 lbs, approximately. It has a seat width and depth of about 16 and 20 inches. Standard wheelchairs come with fixed or detachable armrests and provide more adjustability than a transport chair.
Standard Wheelchair
  • Transport Wheelchair: Transport wheelchairs are mainly used to “transport” a person from one location to another when they’re unable to walk the required distance. People using these types of wheelchairs tend to be dependent on propulsion (being pushed by another person). Transport wheelchairs encompass minimal available adjustments, making them unsuitable for someone who will be self-propelling.
A person propelling another person sitting on a transport wheelchair
  • Folding Wheelchair: The biggest advantage of folding wheelchairs is that they allow easy mobility and portability. Because their weight is much lighter than the standard wheelchairs, they pertain more configuration options such as wheel types, tires, casters, armrests, and wheel locks. The key difference between both folding and standard wheelchairs is that folding wheelchairs have the ability to modify the placement of the rear wheel. 
A folded folding wheelchair
  • Rigid Wheelchair: Rigid wheelchairs are usually constructed for the ones who seek easier self-propulsion. The more rigid the wheelchair, the easier it’ll be to propel. A rigid wheelchair is comparatively lighter than a folding wheelchair and doesn’t come with a cross-brace. This helps to reduce the overall weight. 
A Rigid Wheelchair
  • Dynamic Tilt Wheelchair: A dynamic tilt, or tilt-in-space wheelchair, is designed to help its users to redistribute pressure and reduce the risk of skin breakdown. Due to their reclining function, they also help facilitate feeding and respiratory function, improving visual alignment by holding the head upright. Dynamic tilt wheelchairs tend to be prescribed for individuals who are unable to shift their weight independently. Some dynamic tilt wheelchairs can be folded, depending on the configuration of the chair.
Dynamic tilt wheelchair

Choosing The Right Manual Wheelchair

It is extremely vital to make a well-informed wise choice while choosing your wheelchair as it is going to aid your mobility and make you more independent. Some important factors that must be taken into consideration when choosing a wheelchair could be:

  • Controls
  • Measurements (seat size, seat-to-floor height, etc.) 
  • Optional features (footrest/leg-rest, adjustable backrest, etc.)
  • Accessories available (wheelchair cushions, trays, bags, etc.)
  • It is also important to configure the duration of the time you’ll be using the wheelchair. 
  • Other factors that must be considered are, how much support you may require if you’ll be able to push the wheelchair yourself, and what sort of activities you expect to do in it. 


A power wheelchair is a mobility aid that is often used by individuals who face difficulty during walking or are going through medical conditions. Power wheelchairs are preferred by those who are unable to use a manual wheelchair or an electric scooter. A daily essential electric wheelchair contains a base, equipped with four or more wheels. 

Power Wheelchair.

Types of Power Wheelchairs Available

There are three main types of power wheelchairs, namely, rear-wheel, front-wheel, and mid-wheel drive. Each type of these wheelchair can be easily customizable by adding different components and accessories catering to the user’s needs. These add-ons allow users to get a bespoke wheelchair that meets their needs.

  • Rear-Wheel Drive: The power wheelchairs consist of four wheels that provide traction during driving. Two large drive wheels are positioned at the back of the chair’s base. Alongside this, two smaller front casters are added to provide stability and maneuverability.
Rear Wheel Drive Power Wheelchair
  • Front-Wheel Drive: These power chairs also come with four wheels that aid in providing traction when driving. In this type of wheelchair, two large drive wheels are positioned near the front of the chair’s base. The front-wheel drive wheelchairs offer a smooth ride and are outstanding for obstacle climbing. 
A Frot Wheel Drive Power Wheelchair
  • Mid-Wheel Drive: Power chairs that come with six wheels that give traction when driving are termed as mid-wheel drive wheelchairs. This type of wheelchair consists of two large drive wheels that are positioned in the middle of the chair’s base. Alongside, four smaller wheels are also installed at the front and back of the wheelchair to increase stability.
Mid Wheel Drive Power Wheelchair

Choosing The Right Power Wheelchair

It is advisable to consult an expert when choosing the right power wheelchair as per your needs and requirements. Consulting your doctor and an assistive technology professional (ATP) (who can configure and customize the wheelchair to cater to your requirements). 


Similar to a wheelchair, a scooter is a mobility aid that is configured like a motorized scooter. A mobility scooter has a seat positioned over three, four, or even five wheels. It also contains foot plates for the feet, and handlebars in front to turn the steerable wheels. Unlike a manual wheelchair, the scooter eliminates the use of the manual strength that is needed to propel. However, it does require an upright posture, shoulder and hand strength, along with upper body mobility to steer.

A Scooter Mobility Aid.

Types of Mobility Scooters Available

The types of mobility scooters can be classified into three main types. 

  • Travel/Portable Scooters: These types of scooters can easily be disassembled and folded in order to fit into the trunk of a car or as airplane cargo for the convenience of transportation. These scooters are often lighter in weight than their full-sized three or four-wheel companions.
portable scooter mobility aid.
  • Three-Wheel Scooters: These mobility scooters have a tight turning radius, making them easier to use indoors. As the name suggests, these types of scooters come with three wheels for steering support.
A three wheel scooter mobility aid.
  • Four-Wheel Scooters: These scooters are more stable, and their risk of tipping is lower, making them a much safer option. Four-wheel scooters maneuver well over rough terrain and hills, making them a perfect mobility aid for outdoor activities.
A four wheel scooter mobility aid


A walker is basically a walking aid with four points of contact to the ground. It comes with a sturdy handle for the user to hold and four elongated cane-like bars that can be moved simultaneously. A walker provides a much wider base of support than a walking stick. It is ideal to stabilize patients with poor balance and mobility or with lower extremity impairment.

Types of Walkers Available

A walker is an efficient way to safely garner the user’s mobility and provide them the freedom to get around independently. Here are a few types of walkers for you to choose from.

  • Standard Walker: A standard walker is a mobility device with four nonskid, rubber-tipped legs to provide stability. It is required to be picked up in order to be moved.
A Standard Walker
  • Two-Wheel Walker: The two-wheel walker comes with wheels on the front two legs. It is helpful if at times the user needs some help with weight-bearing.
A Two-Wheel Walker
  • Three-Wheel Walker: Much like a four-wheel walker, this walker provides the user with balance support, but it’s lighter and more maneuverable than its counterpart.
A three wheel walker
  • Four-Wheel Walker: As the name suggests, a four-wheel walker is a mobility device that comes with wheels on each of the four legs of the walker. This mobility aid is ideal for people who don’t need to lean on the walker for balance.
A Woman Walking Using a Four Wheel Walker
  • Knee Walker: A knee walker is similar to a foot-propelled scooter, however, it consists of a platform for resting your knee.
A Man Using a Knee Walker


A rollator is more of a mobile stability aid than a mobility aid. It is used by people that can walk but require occasional help with their balance and stability. Rollators are often heavier than walkers because of the wheels and brake system that they have.

A Four-Wheel Rollator

Types of Rollators Available

There are mainly three types of rollators, and each one comes with its benefits and set of features. Take a look and choose wisely.

  • Three-Wheel Rollator: Ideal to fit in smaller spaces, these rollators easily make sharp turns and offer increased maneuverability. Even though they’re lighter than the four-wheeled options, their design doesn’t accommodate a seat. With one swiveling wheel in the front and two wheels in the back, they often come with a basket, a pouch, or both for storage purposes.
A Three Wheel Rollator
  • Four-Wheel Rollator: With four-wheels to support, these rollators offer increased stability and enhance mobility and walking speed. These types of rollators do require steering and handbrake operation, which may not be a feasible best option for all users. 
Visual Depiction of Height
  • Heavy-Duty Rollator: Also known as the bariatric rollators, the heavy-duty rollators come with a higher weight capacity than standard rollators. A few common features of these rollators are reinforced steel and wider seats. The wheels of heavy-duty rollators tend to be bigger and wider.
Pros of Heavy Duty Rollatos

Key Differences Between Various Types of Mobility Aids

After deciphering the vast plethora of types of mobility aids available at your exposure, it is extremely crucial to denote the key factors that differentiate all of them from each other. For the same, here are a few pointers for you to look into.

What is The Difference Between Manual and Power Wheelchairs?

Manual wheelchairs are often foldable and lightweight, providing the added advantage of the ease of mobility and portability. They’re reliable, less expensive, transportable, and ensure the fitness of the user. 

Power wheelchairs, on the other hand, are an embodiment of comfort because they allow you to move without effort and come with a vast array of power seating options (recline, tilt, stand) and other customizable options to meet your needs.

What is The Difference Between a Walker and a Rollator?

  • Walkers and rollators share a lot of similarities as mobility aids, but there are some crucial differences between them. The key difference between both of them is that rollators are fully wheeled with large casters. 
  • Whereas some walkers may feature wheels, the wheels in walkers are typically smaller in size and are only on two of the four legs. 
  • However, Many rollators also have features that walkers don’t, such as a seat, backrest, and handbrakes.

Now that you’ve finally equipped yourself with all types of mobility aids, you’ve done the hard part. Congratulations! Now is the time to make the choice of aid that suits best according to your requirements. 

If you are someone who is accessing this information for a loved one, there’s also a list of pointers that might come in handy.

Taking Care of Persons with Episodic Mobility Issues

Despite providing them with mobility aids of their choice, there still can be mishappenings that may cause detrimental aftereffects to the patient. In order to reduce the proximity of these pitfalls, here are some pointers that are worth keeping in mind while taking care of people with mobility issues.

  • The most prominent problem that users may face is disbalance leading to unexpected falls – in this case, please be patient and ask about how much pain they’re in. Depending on their answer, find a way to get them seated and call for help.
  • On the usual, encourage them to incorporate physical activity – this will help with flexibility in their body, minimizing the risks of unexpected falls.
  • Constantly keep a check on their condition with their healthcare service provider – this will help forge the next steps of their healing journey.
  • Always try to configure potential fall hazards in the patients’ surroundings and take measures to eliminate them.
  • Discuss various mobility aids with their healthcare service provider and provide them with so accordingly.


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Ans: Discomfort and weakness in joints

Ans: A simple and short answer would be, ‘no.’ Because every individual is prone to injuries, dizzy spells, neurological problems, and other diseases, anybody can experience episodic mobility issues.   

Ans: Dizzy Spells, Weakness, Discomfort, or pain in joints

Ans: Amputation, paralysis, cerebral palsy, stroke, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, arthritis, spinal cord injury, or other types of orthopedic or neuromuscular impairments.

Ans: It can happen at any age. However, the proximity of it happening in older people is much higher.

Ans: Around 60–70 years.

Ans: Vitamin D

Ans: Yes, definitely. However, it should be started in moderation so that the body can get accustomed to movement and flexibility.

Ans: By improving muscle strength, joint flexibility, balance, and coordination of the patient.