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Whether you need disability walking aids, or elderly walking aids, you need to know what to look out for when you are in the market for buying.
5 Tips on how to choose a walking aid that’s right for you
When choosing which walking aid is best for you, speaking to a trained mobility professional is always a safe way to find out which is best. However, there are a few tips and criteria that can help you make an informed decision on your own:
1. What level of upper body strength do you have?
When buying mobility aids you need to consider how athletic you are with your upper body, because aids like crutches require quite a lot.
If you have an ankle related injury and may find it difficult to use crutches because you can’t support your body weight with your arms, you may want to consider a knee walker.
Additionally, if a conventional walking frame will be too difficult for you to continually pick up and put down, you can buy wheelie walker 4 wheeled walking aids.
2. How severe is your mobility condition?
When choosing a mobility walking aid, you need to understand how severe your mobility condition is and if you only need a bit of help with your balance, or if you need much more extensive help to be able to walk.
For example, if you only need a little bit of help to balance, you could consider using a lightweight walking stick or cane. However, if you’re quite immobile and have severe issues when walking, then a walking frame or even a wheelchair will be the best decision. If you have an injury or condition and can’t bear-load on the injury at all, then you will need crutches or a knee walker.
3. Where will you be using the walking aid?
Before you purchase a walking aid, try to think of all the places you will be using the walking aid. If you generally walk over uneven surfaces and stairs, then walking aids with wheels such as knee walkers and rollators won’t be a viable option.
Thinking about the accessibility in the place you live is a large part about picking which walking aid is best for you.
4. Test the mobility aid and fit it properly
Not necessarily an option for everyone, but if you can, you should try and make it into a mobility equipment store so that you can test which walking aid is most comfortable for you, and a trained professional can help you fit it to your size.
However, if you can’t make it into a store, calling a professional for advice on how to fit your mobility aid will ensure you find a product that is best for you.
5. How long will you be using the walking aid?
Walking aids come in a range of different prices because they all have different build qualities, features, and benefits. If you’re going to be using your walking frame for an extended period of time you will want to make sure that you don’t skip out on price and buy a product that will break easily with time. If you want help discussing pricing levels of a product, speak to a professional.
What are the different types of walking aids?
Before you buy a walking aid, it’s a good idea to know what products are available so that you know what your options are. Some of the different types of walking aids include:
A walking frame is a four-legged structure that someone with a mobility or balance condition uses to make sure they do not trip and fall. It is used by holding onto the handles on the side of the frame, lifting it forward, and stepping through it.
This kind of mobility aid needs a decent amount of upper body strength to be able to maneuver it, but because it does not have wheels it can be used on a wider range of uneven surfaces.
Seat walkers / rollators
Seat walkers, rollators and other aids with wheels are just like walking frames, but instead of having rubber stops on their feet, they have wheels. They are used like walking frames but instead of picking them up, you simply walk forward. You can control your speed with the built in hand brakes.
This means that it requires less upper body strength to use them because they can glide along the ground, which also means they can almost only be used on flat and even surfaces.
Forearm walkers are a form of walking support that are very similar to a rollator because they have four wheels and can simply glide along on the ground without being lifted. The difference is you don’t hold onto the hand rails, and instead rest your forearms into the walker and use it that way.
By resting your forearms on the walker, and not holding onto it with your hands, it requires even less upper body strength to use.
Walking sticks & canes
Walking sticks and walking canes are a base level of mobility aid. They offer basic balance support, are lightweight, and don’t require much upper body strength to use.
If you are looking at basic walking aids for seniors, or are recovering from a long term injury and still need a little bit of help, a walking stick or cane is a great option.
A knee walker is a type of mobility aid that is designed to help people with lower limb injuries and conditions who can’t put load on their leg, and don’t have the upper body strength to safely use crutches. Simply place your knee on the stool and start scootering yourself around on the wheels.
They require minimal upper body strength to be used, but since they are on wheels need a fairly flat and even surface.
Crutches are your typical mobility aid for when you have a lower limb injury and need to take weight off the affected area. They either sit underarm or at the forearm and are used by placing them forward, and then hoping through.
They require a decent level of upper body strength to be used, but can be used carefully on uneven surfaces and stairs. If you are having difficulty using your crutches, speak to a mobility specialist to see if they are fit properly or if there are other options available.
What to consider when traveling with a walking aid
When traveling with a walking aid, you need to consider 2 things:
Can I stow away my walking aid?
You need to make sure you’re going to be able to physically fit your walking aid away while traveling, otherwise you won’t be able to bring it with you. For example, if you are going on a flight and have a walking frame, does it fold away and if not, is there room to put it somewhere?
Some walking aids are able to be folded for travel, so if you think your traveling years aren’t yet behind you, consider these options with your mobility professional.
What is the surface like where I am going?
How accessible is the place where you’re going? Will you be able to use your knee walking, or are there many stairs that you might have to traverse across.
It’s unfortunate, but if your current mobility aid isn’t able to be used in the place where you’re going, maybe you need a new product or you have to reconsider your destination.
3 Walking aids safety tips
Even though walking aids will make it easier, more comfortable, and safer to walk, they aren’t a miracle solution to your mobility concerns. There are several things you should keep in mind when using your walking aid to further increase your walking safety:
- Take your time to get used to the product
At first, it will feel very strange trying to use your disability, cerebral palsy walking aids, or elderly walking aid. You need to take the time to get used to them, and not rush trying to go everywhere and do everything. When first using your walking aid make sure you give yourself enough time and practice to use the product safely.
- Don’t go too fast
When walking with other people or in public, you might feel out of place because of the speed that you are walking. For your own safety, and the safety of others, don’t try to walk too fast with your walking aid. The faster you go, the more likely you are to trip and fall.
- Know your limits
Know your own limits, as well as the limits of your walking aid. If you have a rollator but need to get up some stairs, don’t try to do it by yourself. Wait for someone to come and help you so you don’t risk falling down the stairs and sustaining a significant injury.
Can you purchase walking aids through NDIS?
If you are registered through NDIS, and disability walking aids suppliers are registered, you may be able to purchase your walking aids with the help of NDIS plan payment. If you want to find out more, speak to a mobility professional.
Where’s the best place to buy walking aids?
If you’re fearful of falling and want to bolster your comfort and safety, you should definitely consider buying a walking aid. But where to get them?
By visiting The Mobility Store today, you can get access to one of the most comprehensive ranges of walking aids in Melbourne and all of Australia. While here, you will be able to speak to one of our friendly and highly-trained mobility professionals that will closely discuss with you your needs and match you with the best product.
If you can’t make it into our store, you can give us a call and we can walk you through our online shop, so you can get your mobility aid sent to you from the comfort of your own home.
Get in touch with us so that you can improve your mobility today.