It is not surprising to hear that after a major injury or illness, you might need some help with walking and moving around in general – especially if you’ve had surgery, fractured a bone or are generally feeling weak.
Those things, along with balance issues, will cause you to lose normal use of your legs, which is where a mobility device may be necessary. It is important for you to know what your options are so that you can continue to live life comfortably and maintain your independence.
That being said I thought it would be beneficial to talk a little bit about the different kinds of mobility devices that are used in physical therapy.
Here are the main ones….
Standard Walker: This type of walker provides you with maximal stability and is a standard device that has four metal legs that contact the floor. You’ll probably need to use a standard walker if you’re only allowed to put partial weight on one or both of your legs.
Wheeled Walker: A wheeled walker is a walker that has two or four wheels on the bottom that help it roll across the floor. It is very easy to use because you do not have to lift it while walking. However, keep in mind that it could roll away from you, and therefore is less stable than a standard walker.
Axillary Crutches: Axillary crutches are the most common type of crutches – the ones that extend up to your armpits. They are useful if injury or surgery prevents you from putting one foot on the floor. Although they can take some practice to use they allow you to move quickly while walking. Be aware that they can pinch the armpits, so make sure they are fitted properly.
Lofstrand or Forearm crutches: These crutches have a small cuff on the top near the handle that allows the crutches to be secured to the forearms. This allows you to use your arms without having the crutches fall to the ground. This particular type of crutch takes to get the hang of, and they also provide less stability than other devices (such as those listed above).
Quad Cane: A quad cane is a cane with four small prongs that extend out from a metal base on the bottom of the cane. These prongs make contact with the floor and help to provide a wide base of support for the user. Although quad canes provide more support many find them to be bulky and difficult to lift – especially senior citizens.
Standard Cane: A standard cane, or straight cane, is a single walking stick with a curved handle to hold on to. Some of them are adjustable, and others are wooden which means they need to be cut to the right size before use – and it is very important to do so. A standard is used when you need extra support or balance, but it provides much less support than crutches or a walker.
The use of mobility devices is common after injury, and choosing the right device, sizing and using it correctly are essential to the healing process. If you think you need some help choosing the right one please do not hesitate to get in touch with us – we’d be happy to help. Please give us a call at 201-585-7300 or fill out this contact form.