Walking aids, as the name suggests, help people with various difficulties or disabilities to walk or move with greater ease. They are also known as mobility aids, and usually, when people recover from any major surgery or injury, they need to use these devices. Walking aids reduce discomfort, and offer the users more confidence and freedom to move around independently. There is a vast range of walking aids one can choose from according to their needs, from crutches and canes to wheelchairs.
Walking Aids: Their Types
What type of walking aid one should use typically depends on their specific injury or discomfort and you can choose the best walking aids according to your personal preferences. Canes and crutches support one’s body-weight and transfer the burden from the lower body to the upper body, easing the discomfort. However, while canes are efficient walking aids, they can’t match the efficacy of a crutch, which can distribute and transfer your body weight. Furthermore, unlike crutches, one feels a greater strain on their wrists and hands with canes. People with balancing disability and thus are at greater risk of falling may use canes as walking aids. Many kinds of canes are available, such as white canes, forearm canes, quad canes, and foldable canes.
Let’s come to crutches, and they are more effective than canes as walking aids, especially in terms of body weight transfer and keeping a person more upright. One can use a pair or a single piece as per their requirements. Below are the common type of crutches a user can select from.
- Underarm or Axillary Crutches: People with small injuries can use these crutches for a short term duration. One part of this crutch supports the ribcage while placed below the armpit and offers a hand grip to the user to hold simultaneously.
- Forearm or Lofstrand Crutches: These are the ones that are generally used by the people with a greater extent of injuries or disabilities. You can use it for the long term, and sometimes for permanent use. It comes with a grip and a plastic or metal cuff to place the user’s hand.
- Platform Crutches: This type of crutches is rarely used, and it’s specially designed for the people who have a weaker grip caused by some ailments like arthritis. Make sure, you must choose a platform crutch which has a skid-resistant surface.
This is another walking aid that is constructed by a metal frame with four supporting legs to offer more balance to the users and keep them stable. These typically come with three-sided frames to protect the user. One has to lift the walker and put it in front to advance further in the way and repeat. Some models come attached with glides and wheels, meaning one doesn’t need to lift the frame; instead, they can just roll it. It is particularly useful for patients with non-adequate hand strength.
This is another key walking aid designed for people who are unable to put any weight on their lower body or simply not able to walk anymore. These are especially suitable for the ones who can’t use other types of mobility aids like a cane, crutch, or walker. It can be operated by the users manually, or somebody else can assist by pushing the same. There are walk-behind walkers available and you can use them you’re your parents. Patients with severe injuries or disabilities can be beneficial with this type of walking aid.
Here, we have listed the most common type of mobility or walking aids people use in case of disabilities. Many other less common aids are available as well like mobility scooters, guide dogs, and others that can be useful in particular circumstances.