There are various mobility aids/equipment out there, and it is imperative to know what each are used for. Understanding the uses of a particular material is essential in using them correctly.
Mostly, we have talked about crutches in some of our articles, and we have even written a review on the best crutches alternatives, which are the mobility aids that can be used in place of crutches.
In this article, we delve more into some equipment that supports and helps you balance well. Mobility aid is a piece of necessary equipment for the disabled or people nursing injuries.
Elders also use them for support or ailing people recovering from one sickness or the other to keep their balance as they get back on their feet. This serves as a safety measure and prevents falls that could lead to injury.
Mobility aids are devices that help people with difficulty in moving around get better freedom.
Types of Mobility Aids and Their Uses
In this article, we write about some mobility aids and the most common ones out there. Though mobility aid might not be limited to what is written here, we are sure to cover the most important ones you might likely need.
Crutches are an essential gadget for every non-weight bearing injury. Once your doctor declares a non-weight bearing, crutches are most likely the best mobility aid you should engage in.
To be able to make use of crutches, you must be strong enough to wield the movement. Crutches are only useful when only one leg is injured, that is, one leg must be very strong and healthy.
Also, the upper body region of the user must be strong. This is because; the weight of the body is transferred to the crutches through the upper body region. One leg must be healthy because you will land on it as you push forward on the crutches.
Types of Crutches
Forearm crutches are widespread mobility aid people employ for non-weight bearing. Our articles on the best forearm crutches will give you the best clue on selecting a forearm crutch.
Forearm crutches require much energy to navigate. Your upper body must be very strong, though most people prefer it because they are much fancier than underarm crutches.
Forearm crutches are recommended for youth and adults in their middle age. Apart from being a fancy gadget, they are always portable and easy to transport with.
See other articles on crutches
Underarm crutches, unlike forearm crutches, do not require much energy to navigate. They are taller than the forearm and reach under the armpit of the user.
One part of the crutch is placed against the ribcage of the armpit while the hand is used to hold firmly unto the handgrip.
To consider underarm crutches for travelling purposes, you must ensure it can be folded. Our article on the best folding crutches for travelling will be an excellent guide in this regard.
Read: Forearm Crutches vs. Underarm Crutches
Canes are very similar to crutches, especially the forearm crutches. Canes are also used to support the weight of the body, but they cannot do as much as a crutch.
It helps transfer the load from the leg to the upper body, just like the crutches, but cannot take as much weight as a crutch.
Canes are much more useful for folks that need help with balancing. It is believed that 1 in every ten adults over the age of 65 uses a cane in the United States.
Canes are also used for non-medical purposes like hiking, and most people refer to it as walking sticks.
Types of Canes
They offer extra support to the forearm. Forearm canes are often used more like a support and balancing tool to prevent falls while walking.
They are often used by the visually impaired. Unlike the forearm canes, they are longer, thinner and used to detect object along the way of the visually challenged individual.
White canes are not to help with balancing but for the detection of objects on the way and also to give other people the knowledge that the user is visually disabled.
Quad canes have a broader base and ensure more balance than forearm canes. These canes have four feet at the bottom, hence the name quad (four). They are mostly used by people who require more stability and support.
Walker, Rollator, Knee Scooter, and Wheelchair
Walkers are used for non-weight bearing injuries. Most have four legs and are made with metals, making them very strong to hold the weight of the user.
Most traditional walker does not have wheels on their leg like rollators. The legs of the walker surround the user; the user moves it forward a little and holds the handgrip to move closer to the walker. The process is repeated as many times to keep moving.
Walkers without wheel are not suitable if your upper body or the arm is weak. Rollators are perfect for such people.
Rollators are walkers that have wheels on their legs. They have handlebars that the user will hold firmly onto. They also have a seat that can be used as rest when needed.
Most rollators are four-wheeled, but some on special occasions might have 3 or 5 wheels. Rollators also have hand breaks which serve as a safety for the user.
When you want to use the seat, it can also be put in parking mode, which immobilizes the wheels. This makes it easy to sit without having to fear that the walker will suddenly move.
Select the best rollator walker here and the best rollator transport chair combo
A knee scooter is a perfect alternative to crutches. Knee scooters have knee pads in which the user rests the injured leg while the other healthy leg is used to propel the scooter forward.
Knee walker requires that one leg is very strong and healthy as this leg will be used in propelling the body forward. The knee rest/pad is always cushioned to give comfort to the user.
Knee scooters are not suitable for knee and above the knee injuries – like hips and thigh. They are often recommended for below the knee and ankle injuries.
Knee scooters have steering that helps navigate and control the direction. They also have a break that also helps with control and enhances safety.
Wheelchairs are essential for folks that cannot put weight on both legs, especially the lower limb region. They are also suitable for people that cannot walk.
All other mobility aids require you to have a healthy limb. Only the wheelchair caters to people with severe disabilities.
Wheelchairs are propelled by the user, manually pushed by someone else, and some are electrically operated.
Check the best manual wheelchair and the top power wheelchair for outdoor use
Frequently Asked Questions
Who Should Use Mobility Aid?
Mobility aid is for people who have challenges with mobility, also, for people who are imbalances due to any form of sickness or defect.
Mobility issues can be long term or short term. The mobility aid you decide to go for will depend on the type of injury and time frame you will need it.
The following health issues will most likely need mobility aid:
- Broken Bones in the lower limb – ankle, knee, thigh, hips, foot.
- Visual Impairment
- Sprain and strain
- Injuries in the leg or back region
- Imbalance due to ageing factor
- And other health issues as advised by your doctor.
What is considered a mobility disability?
This can be referred to as the lack of strength to use the limb, either the lower limb or the upper limb. Mobility disability can be caused by injuries to the limb or some diseases that can render the body weak to rid the patient the energy to move from one place to another.
Check Our Article: Rollator walker with seat
What aids are available to assist with mobility?
Mobility aids are as stated above in this article but not limited to them. They include crutches, canes, knee walkers, scooters, and wheelchair.
See: Three-wheel walker
What are the risks of using mobility aids?
As much as mobility aids give so many benefits to the user, nevertheless, there are certain risks associated with them that should be managed.
Underarm crutches, for example, cause a situation called crutch paralysis, which happens as a result of too much pressure on the underarm nerves.
Also, forearm crutches can strain the wrist due to the excessive use of it.
Most of the risks associated with mobility aids result due to improper use. It is crucial to learn how to use any equipment to avoid injury or aggravate the risk associated with mobility aids.
See Our Other Articles on Back Brace, Ankle and Knee Brace and Wrist Brace