Walking frames and aids can provide much-needed support and stability for people with mobility issues. They can help to prevent falls and injuries and make it easier to get around. There are many different types of walking frames and aids available, so it is important to choose the right one for your needs.
In this buyer's guide, we will discuss the different types of walking mobility aids and frames, as well as the factors to consider when choosing one. We will also provide some tips on how to use your walking frame or aid safely and effectively.
What Are Walking Aids?
The mobility or the ability to walk or move can be hurt or injured due to an accident, disease, or for any other reason. In these kinds of cases, healthcare professionals or doctors suggest their patients use some supportive devices. These supportive devices are called walking aids.
These aids come in a variety of types and functions. We will discuss the types and their usage in the later sections.
Types of Walking Aids and Frames
Here are the different types of walking aids and frames and their usages and functionality:
- Crutches: Crutches are used to provide support and stability when walking. They are typically used under the arms, but can also be used under the armpits. Crutches come in a variety of sizes and styles, so it is important to find a pair that is the right fit for you.
- Walkers: Walkers are also used to provide support and stability when walking. They have four legs and can be used with or without wheels. Walkers with wheels are easier to move around, but walkers without wheels can provide more stability. Foldable walking aids are also available in the market. It can be folded while not in use.
- Rollators: Rollators are a type of walker with wheels. They are a popular choice for people who need more support and stability when walking. Rollators can also be used to store items, such as groceries or a purse.
- Canes: Canes are used to provide support when walking. They come in a variety of styles, including single-point canes, quad canes, and walker canes. Single-point canes are the most common type of cane. They have a single point of contact with the ground, which provides stability. Quad canes have four points of contact with the ground, which provides even more stability. Walker canes are a combination of a cane and a walker. They provide the support of a cane and the mobility of a walker.
The type of walking aid or frame that is right for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences. If you are unsure of which type of walking aid or frame is right for you, talk to your doctor or physical therapist.
How To Choose The Right Walking Aids and Frames?
Choosing the right walking aids and frames is essential to ensure safety, mobility, and comfort for individuals with mobility issues. The selection process should be based on the individual's specific needs, physical condition, and lifestyle. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you choose the right walking aids and frames:
Consult a Healthcare Professional
Start by consulting a healthcare professional, such as a physical therapist or an occupational therapist. They can assess the individual's mobility and recommend the most suitable walking aids based on their specific condition and limitations.
Determine the Type of Walking Aid Needed
Different mobility aids are available, and the choice depends on the individual's level of mobility and stability. Common options include:
- Canes: Single-point or quad canes for mild balance issues.
- Walkers: Standard walkers, rollator walking aids(walkers with wheels), or knee walkers for varying levels of support.
- Crutches: Axillary (underarm) crutches or forearm crutches for temporary mobility issues.
Consider Mobility and Stability Requirements
Assess the individual's mobility and stability. Factors to consider include:
- Weight-bearing capacity: Some individuals may need aids that can support their full body weight.
- Balance issues: Look for aids that offer better stability, such as four-wheel rollators with hand brakes.
- One-handed or two-handed use: Depending on the individual's condition, they may need a single cane or crutch or a walker with two-hand support.
Ensure that the chosen walking aid is the right size for the individual:
- Canes: Measure from the wrist to the ground while the individual stands upright with their shoes on.
- Walkers and crutches: Measure from the floor to the individual's wrist and adjust the height accordingly.
Test and Adjust
When choosing a walking aid, allow the individual to try it out and make necessary adjustments. The aid should be comfortable and provide the right level of support. Check that the individual can maintain an upright posture while using it.
Consider Portability and Lifestyle
Take into account the individual's lifestyle and daily activities. If they need to transport the walking aid frequently, choose one that is lightweight and foldable. Consider features like a built-in seat or a basket for added convenience.
Look for safety features that match the individual's needs. This may include hand brakes on rollators or crutches with ergonomic handles to prevent slipping.
Consider the budget, but prioritize the individual's safety and comfort over cost. Investing in a quality walking aid can reduce the risk of falls and injuries.
Seek Professional Guidance
If the individual's condition changes or if they have any questions about using the walking aid, consult their healthcare professional for guidance and adjustments.
Ensure the walking aid is regularly maintained, with proper cleaning and checks for wear and tear.
Choosing the right walking aid is crucial for improving mobility and maintaining independence. Seek expert advice and prioritize safety and comfort to make the best choice for the individual's needs.
Tips To Take Care of Walking Aids and Frames
Taking care of walking aids and frames is essential to ensure their longevity and safety. Here are some tips to help you maintain and care for your walking aids:
- Check your walking aid or frame regularly for signs of wear and tear.
- Look for loose bolts, screws, or any damaged parts.
- Ensure that all components are securely attached.
- Clean your walking aid regularly with a mild soap and water solution.
- Avoid using abrasive cleaners that can damage the surface or handles.
- Dry it thoroughly after cleaning to prevent rust or corrosion.
- Apply lubricant to moving parts, such as joints and hinges, to keep them functioning smoothly.
- Use a silicone-based lubricant or one recommended by the manufacturer.
- If your walking aid has height-adjustable legs, check and adjust them as needed to maintain the proper height for your comfort and safety.
- Store your walking aid in a dry and cool place to prevent rust and deterioration.
- Hang it or place it in a secure position to prevent tripping hazards.
Replace Worn Parts
- Replace worn-out grips, rubber tips, or any damaged components promptly.
- Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for replacement parts.
- Do not overload your walking aid with heavy bags or objects, as this can affect its stability and durability.
- Use your walking aid as instructed by your healthcare provider or the manufacturer.
- Avoid excessive force or sudden movements that could damage the frame.
- If you need to transport your walking aid in a vehicle, secure it properly to prevent damage during transit.
Seek Professional Help
- If you notice significant damage or issues with your walking aid, consult a healthcare professional or a technician for repair or replacement.
- Create a maintenance schedule to remind yourself to perform regular checks and cleaning.
- Follow the manufacturer's maintenance recommendations if available.
Be Mindful of the Terrain
- Be cautious when using your walking aid on uneven terrain, stairs, or slippery surfaces.
- Use additional accessories like rubber tips or ice grippers when necessary.
Check for Recalls
- Periodically check if there are any recalls or safety notices related to your specific walking aid model.
Remember that proper care and maintenance of your walking aid or frame are crucial for your safety and mobility. If in doubt about any aspect of maintenance or usage, consult with a healthcare professional or contact the manufacturer for guidance.
Australian Healthcare Supplies has a variety of walking aids and frames based on your requirements. All of our products are available for NDIS participants.