Best Walking Aids For Every Need
If you have recently experienced a leg fracture, are weakened and recovering from illness, or are having trouble with balance, a walking aid might help you get back your mobility. Read here to learn more about your walking aid options today.
There are many reasons why you may need a walking aid to assist your on-foot mobility. Whether you are recovering from a broken bone, have balance issues, or are reaching an older age where you require walking assistance, there are many options for you to choose from when it comes to walking aids. It is important to choose a walking aid with correct assessment of which aid is right for your condition. This is important to know so you regain your independence to move through the world as you please without risk.
People of all ages and walks of life can need a walking aid at some point in their life. Some circumstances that may cause you to require a walking aid include infections in your legs, arthritis or joint injury, broken leg or feet bones, weakness from illness or surgery, injury or pain in your back, or central or peripheral nervous system diseases such as Parkinson’s or having a stroke. If you believe you need a walking aid, this is a good first place to start your research.
Safety First When Choosing Your Walking Aid
Research shows that a high number of falls and injuries by the elderly are related to mishaps with walking aids. It is important to receive recommendation and training on proper use of your walking aid before you venture out to walk on your own. Your walking aid should be assessed for your correct weight and height, as well as for durability within your living environment and normal walking routines.
It is important to have a physical therapist assess your ailment, walking capacity, and weight bearing capacity in order to correctly recommend a walking aid to you and train you properly in the use of your walking aid to prevent accidents. Additionally, you may choose to have your living environment and routine environments assessed by a professional to make sure you have the correct walking aid suited for your home’s layout to prevent risk of falling.
Types of Walking Aids
Walkers Walkers consist of walking frames, wheeled walking frames, rollators and knee walkers. Walking frames are helpful in assisting with balance and or movement if your leg muscles have been weakened. Walking frames are best for people who will mostly be moving around indoors, and are less suited for bringing outside. Walking frames require that you lift them with each step, so these are not good for people with Parkinson's disease looking for balance when walking or for people who tire out quickly. Wheeled walking frames are better suited for those who tire easily or those with Parkinson’s disease, because they do not interrupt the walking gait and do not have to be lifted with each step. Rollators are like wheeled walking frames but with a basket or a seat included. These are better suited for outdoor movement as you can rest and take a seat when needed or can carry necessities in the basket. However, these are not meant to be leaned on heavily for support, as they may roll away unless you turn on the brakes. Knee walkers are similar to a wheeled walker, but you place one knee on the walking frame’s cushion.
Canes Walking sticks, otherwise known as canes, are helpful once you have been properly trained in how to use them to assist in balance. It is important to consider that when using a walking stick, your weight is primarily placed upon the arm that is using the walking stick, so you need to have a strong upper body capacity. There are a few variations of canes, including canes with three or four pronged feet at the bottom to help with stability called quadrupeds and tripods. When choosing your cane, make sure it is the correct height, that the weight is not too heavy for you, and that the grip of the handle is comfortable for you
Crutches Crutches are best for younger people, who have experienced an illness or injury. They can be difficult to balance with and require more self-balance capacity which makes them ill-suited for elderly people. Crutches are best used when recovering from a foot or leg injury to help with stability and balance. Crutches take weight off one of your legs completely, but they require a lot of upper body strength to use.
Avoiding Accidents When Using Your Walking Aid
When you introduce a walking aid into your routine, it is important to manage your risk of falling or accident when using your walking aid around your home. There are measures you can take to reduce accidents in your home and things to look out for when you are using your walking aid in other places.
The first step is to maintain your walking aid condition. Replacing any tennis balls or the rubber at the bottom of your walking aid will be important for ensuring its functionality. Additionally, you want to make sure you wear secure footwear when using your walking aid, and often the health professional who prescribed your use of a walking aid will recommend footwear to support your mobility.
When getting up and out of a bed or a chair, make sure to not rely on your walking aid to help you stand up. Relying heavily on them to stand up is not what they were made for. You should make sure to press on the bed or the arms of your seat to stand up fully before using your walking aid to move around. If your home has stairs it is best to use the railings to assist you in climbing or descending the stairs and only use your walking aid once you are on level ground. Lastly, make sure to never use your walking aid on a wet floor, and to be cautious when using your walking aid near a rug or any clutter that may be in your path.