A mobility aid is described as any device that helps a person who suffers with reduced mobility. Mobility aids are used by people who have trouble walking or moving independently. They give extra support to the body, thus enabling people to move around more freely, requiring less assistance from others.
Many people can benefit from using a mobility aid including, anyone suffering from a recent injury, anyone suffering with balance problems and people that have long-term disabilities.
People can also use mobility aids to prevent injuries from occurring or reduce the chances of worsening an injury that is already present.
Types of Mobility Aids
Depending on the level of assistance needed while moving, and the body part limiting normal movement, we can classify mobility aids into several types.
Walking aids are devices that help people walk by providing support, increasing the centre of gravity, and maintaining balance in the body. Depending on the amount of support needed, the walking aids are further classified into different types, all of which have somewhat similar yet unique reasons for use.
Let’s have a look at each of them one by one.
Sticks or canes are used by people who have a slight problem balancing their body while walking, or they are unable to transfer their whole-body weight to their legs. To use a cane, you hold the cane on the side of the body that feels weak, and instead of taking your body weight on the weak side, you transfer your weight to the cane, thus relieving the injured or weak limb.
Crutches are similar to canes, but they provide extra support as they are longer and reach up to a person’s upper arm. This puts less strain on the lower arm and instead uses the muscles throughout the entire arm to aid in a person’s mobility. Forearm crutches, also known as elbow crutches, are used by patients whose balance is compromised due to an injury of the leg such as a sprain or break, or an injury of a muscle, tendon, or ligament. It may also be used by those who have long-term disabling injuries affecting balance.
3. Walking Frame:
A walking frame is a type of mobility aid that supports a person’s body weight more than crutches and canes. It has four-points of contact with the ground that increases the base of support for the body, providing extra stability, thus reducing the risk of falls. People commonly use walkers to move around when balance within the lower limbs is reduced after a fall or an injury and walking speed is slow. It is also recommended for older people as they are at higher risk of falls.
These are similar to walkers; however, they have wheels attached. They provide support just as walking frames do but people who have reduced upper limb power that struggle to lift a walking frame and place it forward, will benefit from using rollators as it only requires a small push to propel it forward.
A wheelchair is a type of mobility aid, used when a patient is unable to walk with the help of any of the above-mentioned walking aids. The need for a wheelchair comes when a patient has extremely weak legs therefore, requiring extra assistance. Furthermore, people with cardiovascular issues such as a weakened heart would also benefit from the use of a wheelchair.
We have a variety of wheelchairs including our premium aluminium wheelchair that comes with brakes which adds safety while being guided by an attendant. We also have our steel wheelchair which is easily transportable as it folds with ease.
Support: Mobility aids are a way of supporting the body while moving around. Muscle weakness stops you supporting your own body weight. Mobility aids like wheelchairs or crutches help a person to carry themselves from one place to another. It substitutes the work of the weak body segments by offloading the muscles.
Balance: Using mobility aids gives a person more stability as it increases their centre of gravity. Conditions, when a person’s balance is reduced, can lead to a higher risk of falls. Old age is another cause that makes you prone to falls. Mobility aids can help your body maintain balance while walking. In short, it gives you needed safety which increases your independence.
Function: The function of a mobility aid is to allow a person to move around with as much ease as possible. These aids give people back their independence and increase the confidence which improves function of the limbs.
Who can use Mobility Aids?
Anyone with reduced mobility, reduced balance, fall risk, or muscle weakness can benefit from the variety of mobility aids that we have in store.
These include people with the following conditions,
- Developmental problems
- Sports injuries
- Weak eyesight
- Neurological conditions
- Post-operative rehabilitation