Other Walking Aids

Walking aids or mobility devices are created to help people with movement issues get around freely. Older people are more inclined to opt for mobility aids due to the increased risk of fractures, osteoporosis and arthritis. However, this is not to say younger people are not ideal candidates because a walking aid may be necessary in case of immobility due to sprains, surgery from ligament tears and rehabilitation after major surgery.

What types of mobility aids are available?

The type of walking aid chosen will depend on the injury or condition. The following mobility aids are available:

  • Canes provide support to the body by equalising body weight and shifting the pressure from the bottom half of the body to the upper portion. There are various styles to choose from, depending on your preference. For example, white canes are designed to assist the visually impaired who struggle to walk. Quad canes offer increased support because they cover a broad surface area. Forearm canes strengthen and support the arm's upper portion and distribute the weight from the wrist to the upper arm.
  • Crutches redistribute weight from the legs to the top half of the body. Crutches help you stand straight up after suffering a temporary injury or permanent disability. There are different types of crutches used to treat injuries. For example, a plastic or metal cuff (crutch) can be used to cover the arm; a forearm crutch compensates for a serious, life-long disability.
  • Walkers (Zimmer frames) are metal frameworks that consist of four legs. A few walkers have wheels attached at the bottom to help people move around easily. However, a standard walker consists of a standard three-sided frame that engulfs the user. Modern walkers include rollators with hand brakes as a safety feature, knee walkers with padded cushions to rest the injured area and a walker-cane with two legs and a complete frame.


Who needs a walking aid?

People suffering from immobility due to conditions such as arthritis, cerebral palsy, developmental disorders, fractures, sprains, strains, traumatic injuries, stroke and visual impairment (blindness) require the assistance of a walking aid.

Are there risks involved when using a mobility aid?

Without proper care and maintenance of the device, the following risks may occur:

  • Crutch paralysis
  • Pressure on the nerves
  • Secondary injuries, if not used correctly
Are reclining wheelchairs available?

The first aspect to consider is comfort because the device should always be comfortable.

Other factors to consider include:

  • Weight
  • Versatility
  • Preference
  • Recovery goals
  • Lifestyle

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