If you or somebody you know has had a long-term leg injury, you’ll be familiar with the frustrations of limited mobility. It can be stressful to go from a full range of movement to relying on one leg or being unable to walk at all. Forced immobility is not just mentally taxing; it also increases the risk of deep vein thrombosis. Visit this website for advice on staying healthy with a leg injury.
Due to the dangers of prolonged immobility, the goal for doctors is to get patients back on their feet quickly. Typically, walking crutches are the prescribed tool. They allow movement, even on broken bones, but they can be extremely uncomfortable. Often, the prospect of walking with crutches is enough to deter patients from trying. We’re in need of a better tool. The question is, has it already been invented?
This article takes a look at some promising alternatives to traditional walking crutches:
One of the most exciting developments is the flexible prosthesis. These devices are yet to hit the market, but they promise to transform injury recovery. The Flex Leg, for example, is a product currently in development in Utah. It mimics the ‘blade’-like prosthetics worn by some Paralympic athletes, but in a temporary, fully compliant form.
The injured leg rests on a padded platform above a spring blade. Once securely strapped in, the user can put their weight on this blade and safely move around. Unlike crutches, which rely on the arms to shift body weight, the Flex Leg is hands-free. It tackles stairs, hills and uneven floors with little effort.
Unlike the Flex Leg, knee scooters are available to buy and increasing in popularity today. They are similar to temporary prostheses, as both take the weight off the limb without shifting it to the arms and hands. The difference is that knee walkers don’t mimic walking. Instead, they support the injured leg on a wheeled scooter-type device.
There are handlebars at waist height. The user rests their injured limb on the platform and pushes the walker forward with their other leg, as with a regular scooter. They can lean on the handlebars for support and, in some cases, there’s even a basket for carrying small items. Knee walkers come in a vast variety of shapes, sizes, colours, and designs.
The walking cast is a common alternative to traditional, cumbersome crutches. It offers a lot more flexibility and support for the movement. While it isn’t perfect – it requires weight to be placed on a broken foot – it reduces risk by restricting movement in the ankle. Essentially, it’s like a big, foam cushion that hugs the injury and protects it from impacts.
The disadvantage of walking casts is they’re only suitable for foot and lower leg injuries. They are great for foot breaks and fractures, but they rarely extend above the shin. It means that, if you have a long-term leg injury, a knee walker or temporary prosthesis is the better option.
How to Pick the Right Mobility Device for You
The best place to start is with your GP. They’ll give you advice on moving around safely and picking a mobility device to support your recovery. They may even recommend a trusted store or online seller. In any case, when shopping, follow their instructions carefully. They have the same goal as you do – to get you back on your feet as quickly as possible.