If you have a mobility issue — whether it’s a temporary injury or long-term disability — you may benefit from using a mobility aid to help you move around more comfortably.
The type of mobility aid best suited to you will depend on what your mobility issue or injury is. Here are the most common mobility aids to consider:
If you want to transfer weight from your legs to your upper body, crutches will help to keep you upright. There are two types of crutches to choose from — forearm and underarm.
If you have a short-term injury such as a broken leg or ankle, your doctor will advise you on which crutches to use, although they commonly prescribe underarm crutches as they are generally easier to use. Additionally, when fatigued, the user can rest their body weight on the underarm pads.
On the other hand, if you have a long-term disability such as cerebral palsy, forearm crutches are highly recommended due to the pivot point being much lower. Less energy expenditure is required when you walk up or downstairs and from a convenience perspective, forearm crutches are shorter and less cumbersome than underarm crutches.
Canes — also known as walking sticks — are especially useful for those who are at risk of falling or who have problems balancing. As well as making walking more comfortable, canes can give you more confidence as you move around.
There are three common types of canes.
- Forearm canes offer extra forearm support to distribute more weight from your wrist to your arm.
- Quad canes have four feet at the end that provide greater stability.
- White canes are designed to inform others that the user is visually impaired.
Some canes are adjustable to meet your height requirements, as well as foldable so you can put them away when they’re not in use.
For more support than a cane, the next level is a walking frame — also known as a zimmer frame. This metal frame has four legs to assist you as you stand and walk. There are two common types to consider:
- Rollators have four wheels, handlebars, hand breaks and a seat so that you can sit when you need to rest.
- Knee walkers have the added feature of a padded cushion to rest your knee on so you can propel yourself forward.
If you struggle to walk or you’re unable to walk, wheelchairs are the ideal solution to move around, both indoors and outdoors. Wheelchair users can manually propel themselves, be pushed by someone else or the wheelchair can be electrically powered.
Many shops, buildings and public transport providers now cater for wheelchairs, ensuring there is enough space for wheelchair users to move around with ease.
For those who don’t have the upper body strength to use a manual wheelchair, a mobility scooter is an excellent outdoors option to travel long distances. Providing you can get on and off a mobility scooter easily, this device has four to five wheels and a seat so you can move on roads and pavements to get to places.
There are different types of mobility scooters to choose from, depending on how you plan to use them. For example, mobility scooters for the road need hazard lights and a rear-view mirror.
So, if you experience any pain or feel insecure when you walk or move around, there are many mobility aids to choose from to meet your needs.