What is a physical disability?
Physical disabilities occur widely. It is important to realise that physical disability goes beyond having to use a wheelchair or wear a back brace. There are many conditions, such as multiple sclerosis and chronic fatigue syndrome, which are outwardly invisible but result in physical disability. Generally, however, physical disabilities fall under the following headings:
Limited control of some or all voluntary muscles
- arms – ranging from no control to normal coordination
- legs – ranges from total inability to difficulty in standing
- or walking
- trunk – difficulty in sitting straight
- face and throat – difficulty in eating and speaking
- bladder and bowel – may have to adapt toileting procedures
Underdeveloped skeletal structure
Conditions such as dwarfism and the effects of thalidomide
For example, arthritis
It is very difficult to generalise physical disabilities. Each person will have different causes, symptoms and management strategies. Some people with a physical disability may also have intellectual, vision or hearing disabilities.