Wheelchairs aren’t for everyone who has a hard time walking. While most people can walk, and a large number of people cannot, there are many people who fall into the in-between category of able-to-walk-but-only-with-help. For those people, walking aids like crutches, walkers and canes are a true lifesaver – and an independence saver.
After all, who wants to be pushed around when they can take themselves wherever they want to go, when they want, without any help at all? Even the simple advantage of seeing the world while standing upright instead of sitting down can be important to many people – and that’s where the walking aid steps in to save the day.
Whether a person is suffering from a temporary disability, such as a sprained knee or broken leg, or a permanent handicap that impairs their mobility or makes walking difficult or painful, walking aids give more people a chance to have more independence and freedom throughout the day.
If you or your loved one may require a walking aid of any kind, the chart below will help you determine which walking aid is ideal for your needs. For more information on each product type, click on the product name to take you to a comprehensive guide including details about usage, selection and product maintenance for that mobility aid type.
Walking Aid Safety
Although each type of mobility aid differs greatly from the next, there are a few general pointers to keep in mind no matter what type of aid you need. These tips will help you ensure that the walking aid you are using is safe.
Speak to Your Doctor
For all mobility aid purchases, professional recommendations are required for proper use and sizing for the following reasons:
- Using a walking aid the wrong way can not only prove ineffective but may even increase the risk of falling
- Walking aids that have not been adjusted properly to suit the user may lead to back, shoulder or arm pain
Check for Yourself
When purchasing a mobility aid of any type, it’s a good idea to have
the patient test one out at a local shop before making a final purchase
online to ensure that it is the best choice for the user.
Even once the walking aid has been purchased, it is important to reassess on a regular basis to ensure that the walking aid in question is still a good fit for the user.
In general, the following may be indications that the walking aid being used is ill-fitted for its user:
- 1. The user is unable to walk reasonable distances even with the help of the walking aid
- 2. The user is becoming tired after walking short distances with the walking aid
- 3. The user is falling or feels like they will even while using the walking aid
- 4. The user begins avoiding activities
- 5. The user is experiencing pain related to the use of the walking aid
If a walking aid is no longer a viable option for a patient, you may need to consider a wheelchair. Wheelchairs are intended to provide mobility for individuals who have no weight bearing capability and therefore cannot walk even with the support of a cane, crutches or a walker.