An accident that results in a loss of mobility can have a devastating effect on lifestyle. This is true at any time of life, and in the case of permanent or temporary disability. One of the hardest things about losing mobility is the accompanying loss of independence. If you can’t get around then it becomes necessary to rely on others for help with even the most basic tasks, and this can be frustrating or even embarrassing. A walking aid can help you to regain your former independence and take responsibility for yourself once more.
A cane or walking stick can be helpful to those suffering pain or injury which is aggravated when weight is placed on one leg. This could be a sprain, rheumatism, recovery from a break or fracture or due to hip or joint pain. A cane allows you to shift some of your body weight onto your arm and upper body whilst walking instead of all being on your leg and foot. It is used most often when the pain is on one side only, although many elderly people find it helpful also for balance. Canes can be single pointed or have a quad base for extra stability.
Crutches are also a type of walking stick but are very different from canes. They are generally used in pairs and have a padded rest which should sit comfortably under the shoulders in the armpits. Below this is a hand-grip, and the single pointed base sits in a rubber grip. The user can take all of their weight onto the crutches, and therefore the upper body, for short periods of time such as every other step. These are again used mostly when the pain or injury is based on one side of the body. The user can step onto their uninjured leg then place the base of the crutches firmly on the floor to swing through with almost a hopping motion, so the foot of the injured leg never has to take any weight.
Walking frames can be used for any type of leg, foot or hip injury, be it on one or both sides of the body. The user can take their entire body weight onto the upper body to move themselves forward. They then remain still whilst moving the walking frame forward and repeat the action. Some walking frames have four rubber-soled legs while others come on wheels for ease of movement. These are called Rollators, and for those with severely decreased mobility these are perhaps the best walking aid. They can be folded down when not in use, so are convenient in public places, and don’t require the user to bring large amounts of energy or upper body strength into play.