Walking aids include assistive canes (ie, walking sticks), crutches, walkers and rollators (walking frames with wheels). These devices help to maintain upright progress by providing improved stability and therefore confidence.
The cane or walking stick is the simplest form of walking aid. The load which can be supported using a cane is conducted through the user's hand and wrist and is limited by these. Canes come with a variety of handle types, including the traditional crook (not recommended if the user will be putting a lot of weight onto the cane) and a variety of ergonomic handles.
Crutches have two points of contact with the arm, the hand and either just below the elbow or the armpit. Crutches can allows the user to support much heavier loads than a cane.
Forearm crutches have bands that encircle the upper arms and handles for the patient to hold and rest their hands to support the body weight. They gives the user the support of the cane but with additional forearm support to assist in mobility. The forearm support gives better balance and lateral stability, and reduces the load on the wrist.
A walker, or Zimmer frame, is the most stable walking aid and consists of a free-standing metal framework with three or more points of contact which the user places in front of them and then grips during movement. The floor contact may be fixed rubber ferrules as with crutches and canes, or wheels, or a combination of both. Walkers with wheels are known as rollators. Wheeled or not, they can include seats and baskets.
A walker cane hybrid is a new development, designed to for users who need more than a cane but do not need/want a walker. The hybrid has two legs which provide side-to-side support which a cane does not. It may be used with both hands in front, similar to a walker, and provides an increased level of support compared to a cane. The hybrid is not designed to replace a walker which normally has four legs and provides 4-way support using both hands.
Another device to assist walking that has entered the market in recent years is the gait trainer. This is an aid that gives more support than the standard walker. It usually offers support that helps with weight-bearing and balance.
Walking aids cover so many devices - from crutches and walking sticks to four wheeled walking frames that double as shoppers and seats to rollators. Choosing an aid not suited to your particular circumstances can result in injury, so we are not going to expand this section very far or offer advice as to which would suit you, other than to suggest some basic safety precautions.
Always seek advice from your occupational therapist before you attempt to use any of these aids. If you have an aid then never use it on wet surfaces as grip may be lost. Maintain regular maintenance inspections to ensure that all ferrules and wheel rubbers are in a serviceable condition.
Once you have had professional advice as to which aid suits you, have a look at the offerings below.
Click on one of these flags to shop in the US or EU/UK for Walking Aids and their accessories.
So now you have your chosen aid and can't live without it. Well, remember, no matter how big or small it may be Easi-Cab will look after it for you when you travel with us so you will never have to leave home without it.