Walking feet
Assisted Devices

8 Devices that help with Walking

February 18, 2018 admin

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8 devices that help with walking

For most people, the task of walking is a no-brainer but when you take a closer look, this simple task can be extremely difficult. We will explore the top 8 devices that help with walking.

The simple task of walking is not an easy task. We must build our muscles to walk. Our nerves must communicate to our brains for the muscles to contract in order to walk.  In life, things arise that can affect the ability to ambulate (walk) properly. This can be for many reasons from physical strength to a medical condition. Regardless of the challenge, walking can be slightly easier with the use of assistive devices.

The keys to success is to know the different devices. Know which one you need and the proper way to the device. Luckily you landed here, and I am going to teach you those things.

Braces

If you watched the movie Forest Gump (one of my favorites) you saw leg braces.

Leg brace to help with walking
Leg braces worn by Forest Gump. Picture from https://www.liveauctioneers.com

In the movie, Forest Gump is born with legs that did not form correctly and affected his ability to walk. He had to wear leg braces every day so that his legs could properly grow. Allowing him to walk without complications. In the movie, the braces allowed his legs to grow so much making him a fast runner. While braces do not provide any superpower, they do allow the body part requiring the brace to heal properly.

**Who can benefit from braces? Many people use braces after surgery, for broken bones or for extra support. **

Pros: Braces come in all shapes and sizes for both the arms and legs. These are usually prescribed by your doctor based on the issue and wanted outcome. These can come on and off when needed. They are inexpensive and can be found in most stores.

Cons: Braces must be applied appropriately to be effective. So, if you take the brace off you must make sure you know how to reapply it correctly.

How to use a brace correctly

The way to use these is just as different as each brace. Follow your doctor’s orders or the instructions that come with the brace.

Walking Boots

Walking boots are a supportive device that provides a hard bottom and soft wrap around the foot and lower leg. Just like the song by Nancy Sinatra “These boots are made for walking” and that just what they do. They allow you to walk around while healing.

Walking boots that help with walking
These boots are made for walking by Nancy Sinatra. Picture from http://letitallbemusic.blogspot.com

**Who can benefit from a walking boot? Those who have fractured bones in their feet or ankle. **

Pros: With the hard bottom provides a barrier between the bottom of your feet and the harsh elements of the ground. Walking boots can come off and on for sleeping and bathing. Most insurance companies will pay for these.

Cons: Walking boots are usually needed for 6-8 weeks to allow your injury to heal. These are not as lightweight as a brace. Walking boots will make slight adjustments to the way you walk. You need to see a doctor in order to get a walking boot.

How to use a walking boot properly

  1. The first time you get the walking boot you will be given instructions on how and when to use. Follow these instructions.
  2. When walking you will notice the added weight requiring you to lift that foot more than normal to prevent falling.

Crutches

These are two devices that are placed under each armpit and extend down to the ground. They have handle grip in the middle. They have rubber on the bottom to allow them to grip the floor. This provides more stability than a cane but less stability than a walker. Proper placement and usage is key to not injuring yourself. These are given to you by a doctor who will fit you for the right height.

**Who can benefit from the use of crutches? Those with broken bones in their lower legs and feet. Those who have injured their knees and need to provide a rest break from putting weight on that leg. Some people who have a walking boot like to use crutches for added support. **

 

Pros: Crutches allow a person to walk with only one leg by providing support to the body. This allows one complete leg to rest to heal properly. These are inexpensive. Crutches are be adjusted for the user’s height. These can be found at most drug stores or given to you in a medical facility. Some insurance companies may pay for these.

Con’s: Crutches are placed under the arm and with frequent use can cause pain and discomfort. There are arm pads that can be purchased separately for comfort. Crutches require some upper body strength. They can be challenging to maneuver and require practice. Crutches require the use of both arms and hands thus limiting your ability to carry things while ambulating. These make taking the stairs impossible.

How to use crutches properly:

  1. It is very important that you use the hand grips and put your weight in your hands versus your armpits (this will cause great pain).
  2. Stand on your strong leg.
  3. Lift both crutches at the same time and place them one step in front of you.
  4. Push down on both hands and the grip while holding the top of crutches with your armpit area.
  5. While putting your weight in your hands, hop on your good leg landing with your good foot even with the bottom (not ahead) of the crutches.
  6. Repeat with each step.

Single point cane

This is a standard (straight) cane. Also, know to some as a walking stick. This is a large stick that curves at the top for holding purposes. It extends to the ground with one prong that touches the floor.

** Who can benefit from a single point cane? Those who have minor changes in their walking pattern. **

Pros: A single point cane is lightweight It only requires the use of one hand. These are inexpensive and can be bought at most stores. Some canes can fold up for the convenience of carrying.

Cons: This only provides a slight support. Therefore, as your balance changes, you will need another device.

single point cane that helps with walking
Man walking with a single point cane

How to use a single point cane

  1. These are used according to your height. Proper placement is when the handle is even with your waist.
  2. Slightly bend your arm when using.
  3. Use your cane on your strong side.
  4. Place the cane a step ahead of your strong leg.
  5. Step with your weak leg (to be even with the cane).
  6. Step forward with your strong leg.
  7. Repeat with each step.

Quad Cane

This is a cane, like the single point care but with four prongs that touch the floor. This provides more stability than a straight cane.

**Who benefits from a quad cane? People who walk with a slight limp. Also, those who have a minor issue with balance. **

Quad Cane that helps with walking
Quad Cane. Picture from http://www.mvmsinc.com

Pros: Quad canes are small and lightweight. They provide more support than a standard cane due to the four grippers at the bottom of the device. These can be used with only one hand. Quad canes are inexpensive and can be bought at most stores. They can handle more body weight than the single post cane.

Cons: One of the pros is actually a con: being lightweight. If you have a sufficient balance issue you might require a more supportive device. Quad canes do not fold up like some single point canes.

 

 

 

How to use a quad cane properly

  1. These are used according to your height. Proper placement is when the handle is even with your waist.
  2. Slightly bend your arm when using.
  3. Use your cane on your strong side
  4. Place the cane a step ahead of your strong leg.
  5. Step with your weak leg to be even with the cane.
  6. Step forward with your strong leg.
  7. Repeat with each step.

Knee Walker

A knee walker is a device that is becoming more popular. I recently had a flight from Salt Lake City, Utah to Dallas, Texas and witnessed this device for the first time. Actually, I saw this device being used 3 times in the airport. I can imagine you would see this in busy places such as an airport or mall. This device is similar to a rolling walker yet smaller in size. These have handles to hold with one or two hands. A knee walker has a padded area that allows you to rest your injured leg while moving yourself with the other leg. These are used for those with injuries that might get tired of using crutches or feel the need to move faster.

**Who can benefit from a knee walker? Those you are having to use a walking boot or crutches. Those with injuries to the knee, leg or feet. **

Pros: A knee walker allows you to move faster than walking around with crutches or a cane. These are lower to the floor providing more support than crutches. Some knee walkers come with a handy dandy basket to carry your goodies in. They have brakes on the handles for safety. These have a folding frame. These can be purchased through a Durable Medical Equipment company.

Cons: The knee walker can take some getting use. While the knee pad provides support for your leg you must be cautious when balancing yourself from falling over. A knee walker is bulkier than crutches.

Knee Walker that helps with walking
Knee Walker. Picture from http://prestomart.com

 

How to use a knee walker properly

  1. Make sure your brakes are on when placing your knee on the pad.
  2. Once you are balanced take the brakes off.
  3. Move your good foot to propel yourself along.
  4. Start slowly and gradually build speed based on your ability to stay balanced.
  5. Use brakes to slow yourself.
  6. Always use brakes when not moving.

 

 

 

Standard Walker

A standard walker is an assisted device that has four adjustable legs. It has a handle on each side for holding onto. At the bottom of the legs, there is usually a rubber piece that helps provide traction with use. This device provides great stability for balance and reducing falls. Some standard walkers come with wheels on the front.

**Who benefits from a standard walker? Those who frequently fall due to major balance issues. People requiring more support surrounding the body than a cane. Those who need a general all over body support. People who drag their feet when walking. Also, those who might need support when getting out of a chair. **

Pros: A standard walker provides a great support in four areas, two in the front of your body and two slightly behind your body. The rubber piece at the bottom of each leg allows a good grip between the device and floor. If the standard walker has two wheels in the front, this allows one to glide the walker. Standard walkers can fold up. They take up little room and allow for travel. These can be changed to different heights. These are inexpensive and can be purchased at most stores.

Cons: These are lightweight and if not used properly (including ambulating too fast) you could fall. These are best when used indoors only. A person must have decent upper body strength as you need to lift up and place walker with each step.

How to use stand with a standard walker

  1. Place your walker in front of you.
  2. Make sure all four ends are flat on the floor.
  3. Lean slightly forward to raise yourself from the chair.
  4. DO NOT pull on the walker or pull it towards you (you can use the armrest of the chair to push yourself up).
  5. Hold onto the walker, you might need to make a step slightly forward at this time.
  6. Become straight and balanced before walking.
Standard Walker that helps with walking
Standard Walker. Picture from https://www.alibaba.com

How to use standard walker to walk

  1. While standing straight pick up or slide the walker a few inches in front of you while keeping it at arm’s length.
  2. Take a step with weak leg while bracing self with the upper body (moving your foot into the space of walker).
  3. Next, take a step with your strong leg to become even with your weak leg.
  4. Repeat while moving.

Rolling Walker

A rolling walker is an assisted device much like a standard walker except the bottoms of the legs have wheels. These are helpful with balance but is not as steady as a standard walker.

**Who benefits best with a rolling walker? People who struggle with moderate balance issues. Also, those who become fatigued or dizzy quickly. **

Rolling Walker that helps with walking
Rolling Walker. Picture from http://www.kmart.com

Pros: Rolling walkers come with a convenient seat, so when you become weak or dizzy you can just sit down. A free seat anywhere you go!! Due to the wheels, you can continue to move around by propelling yourself with your feet. These have a handy, dandy basket on the front that allows you to have all your needs with you at all times. Rolling walkers can easily fold up allowing you to take them in the car wherever you go. These have brakes on the handlebar allowing you to stop with the walker for safety. Rolling walkers work well indoor and outdoor. Some insurance companies will pay for these. These can be purchased from Durable Medical Supply Companies.

Cons: This walker has wheels which always roll, so those who really struggle with balance could easily fall. These can be a little higher in price than a standard walker. Rolling walkers are bulkier than a standard walker.

 

How to properly use a rolling walker

  1. Do Not push the Walker way in front of you.
  2. Uses brakes when not walking.
  3. Release brakes when you are ready to move.
  4. Make sure you are well balanced.
  5. Hold the handles.
  6. Keeping your body upright slightly push the rolling walker in front of you.
  7. Step forward with one foot.
  8. Follow with the other foot.

 

These devices can help aid in ambulating while providing safety. By using the proper device, you can decrease your chances of falling or causing more injuries. Hopefully, this has helped you in knowing the difference in types of assistive devices that can help you and your loved ones when ambulating.

Please feel free to leave your comments or experiences with a walking assistive device.

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