24 Feb Walking Aids – What are they and the benefits
Walking aids vary from a walking stick, crutches or frames also known as walkers, this ranges from the least support to the most support making them more stable. They come in all different shapes and sizes so are guaranteed to find one that suits you and your mobility needs.
Walking aids assist with keeping you mobile and participating in your everyday daily activities. Their aim is to assist people with improving their balance, walking pattern and safety while mobilising independently. They also help to transfer weight from the upper limb to the aid to reduce weight bearing through the lower limbs this is especially important post surgery.
Who uses walking aids? Typically it is people with an injury or health condition, people with disabilities, older adults at risk of falling, or people post–surgery who are recovering and need assistance.
About half of Australians living with disabilities and around 93% of people living in residential aged care facilities use mobility aids (ABS 2015).
The benefits of walking aids are immense! Here are a few benefits that influence people both physically and mentally:
- Greater independence in life
- Reduce pain
- Decrease fatigue levels
- Increase confidence and self esteem
- Decrease falls risk
- Increase physical activity and walking ability
- Improve balance
- Reduce load on lower limbs
- Increased ability to access the community e.g. stairs, difficult surfaces
- Increased quality of life
If you or someone you know would benefit from a walking aid, booking in with a physiotherapist is the first step. We can prescribe you with the correct aid to suit your walking needs.
We focus our assessment to look at your everyday needs. We first look at your walking, balance, muscle strength, cognition, and then the cardiovascular, neurological and musculoskeletal systems, and ask about any comorbidities and the setup at home.
We provide education and training on how to use the walking aid, the benefits of the aid (as mentioned above), proper prescription and fitting the aid to suit your needs.