When should I opt for a walking aid?
Part of the current population will, at some point in time, need help to continue to move more easily and safely.
For the elderly person with a loss of autonomy or a disability, walking aids are strongly suggested by health professionals. In fact, maintaining an activity level allows this clientele to optimize their level of autonomy and continue to enjoy the benefits of physical activity.
Determining which walking aids to use can be difficult. In this article, you will find the indications and relevant information to help you find your way around.
The different types of walking aids
There are different types of walking aids to meet the needs that justify their acquisition. Médicus would like to inform you about them, to guide your eventual choices.
Depending on your specific needs, our products make your daily life easier by helping you regain mobility to go about all your activities. Our walkers have many features such as ergonomic handles, padded seats, foldable walkers and more.
Being a temporary solution to distribute body weight in order to maintain balance, crutches prevent the weight from being distributed on only one leg.
There are various types of crutches and it should be noted that some force in the arms is required to use them properly.
Adjusting your crutches properly is essential. Adjusting your crutches according to your size optimizes comfort, but above all prevents further injury. Here are our best tips for adjusting your crutches:
- The height: The crutch should be placed about 7-8 cm from the foot of the person standing. The top of the crutch, where the armpit is to rest, should be two fingers below the armpit.
- The hand rest: Intended to receive the hand holding the crutch, the hand rest must be adjusted to 7 or 8 cm from the foot of the person standing. To check that the hand rest is properly adjusted, make sure it reaches the wrist when the arm is extended at rest.
Walking well on crutches. Here, it all depends on the reason for which the wearing of crutches is prescribed. For example, if you need to transfer your weight to one leg only, the way you walk with your crutches will vary.
Accessible, easy to adjust and carry, the cane is an indispensable walking aid for many. Walking canes are used by people with temporary disabilities as well as people who need them in the long term. Knee pain, osteoarthritis or hip problems are frequent reasons for acquiring such a walking aid.
There are different types of canes (for example, the folding cane or the retractable cane), coming in various colors and styles. However, what remains essential for the cane to be effective and safe is its adjustement.
Adjust your cane properly. The walking stick adjusts easily. Special attention must be paid to it, because a poorly adjusted cane can lead to new unwanted imbalances, such as pain in the arms, back, etc.
It is important to know that the only thing to adjust on the cane is the hand rest. It must reach the bend in the wrist of the person standing with the arm extended along the body. Also, the cane must be placed 7 or 8 cm from the foot of the person in a standing position in order to adjust its height.
Walking well with a cane. This may seem counterintuitive to many, but the cane should be worn on the side opposite the affected leg. Here are the steps to follow to walk well with a cane: move the cane and the affected leg forward and move the good leg forward.
Rollators and walkers
While the rollator offers – in particular – greater ease in turns due to its four wheels, it can be cumbersome for some customers. Some models of walkers have a lifting seat, which helps the user to easily get into a standing position.
Often chosen for its comfort and multi-contextual use, it offers similar advantages to a walker: so, how can you be sure to make the right choice between a rollator and a walker? Here are a few ideas to guide you in your reflections:
- If in doubt, consult a professional
- Whether you’ve chosen a rollator or a walker, make it a priority to make sure your walking aid fits properly.
- Knowing how to walk or move around with your walker or walker is as important as its proper fit. It’s what allows you to avoid injury and have maximum enjoyment with your device.
The difference between a rollator and a walker
- The walker consists of a walking frame, designed for indoor use. With its two front wheels and two rear skids, it is distinguished by having no seat to sit on. However, the walker can be equipped with baskets or trays.
- For its part, the rollator is designed for outdoor use: its four large wheels are resistant to different ground conditions and shocks. Equipped with a comfortable seat, the walker is designed for the user who wants to take a longer walk.
The wheelchair is as much a temporary mobility aid as it is a long-term walking aid. For example, a child may benefit from the use of a wheelchair for recovery. In this case, the wheelchair is recommanded to prevent falls and promote healing.
It is also a device of choice when walking causes fatigue or pain. People living with a permanent disability or certain elderly people with severe rheumatism see this mobility aid as an indispensable support.
Most wheelchair models include brakes, which are essential for the user when he or she wants to stand upright. These brakes, by preventing the wheelchair from rolling, prevent the person from falling backwards. The hand and footrests are adjustable for the user’s comfort. The footrests must allow the knees to remain at a 90 degree angle when at rest.