If a lower leg or foot injury has you hobbling, chances are a doctor has prescribed you traditional crutches to help you get around while you heal. While prevalent, traditional crutches aren’t necessarily the best mobility aid option on the market anymore.
In addition to being cumbersome to handle, especially when navigating up and down stairs, traditional (or axillary) crutches can also be potentially hazardous. If used improperly or with poor form, axillary crutches can cause damage to the nerve that sits under the armpit and runs down the upper arm. Traditional crutches may also lead to slips and falls which exacerbate the very injury you are recovering from.
When it comes to finding effective and accessible alternatives to crutches, don’t miss these top picks:
Knee scooters are all the rage for people in need of mobility assistance, from seniors with disabilities to teens with a broken leg. Typically featuring 3 or 4-wheels and bicycle-like handles, knee scooters offer users the ability to rest their injured leg up and back on a raised platform while walking and bearing weight with their good leg at the same time.
Suitable for indoor and outdoor use, knee scooters are often easier to maneuver, safer, and more supportive for someone with a weight-bearing injury. You can find knee scooters at your local mobility equipment store, pharmacy, or online.
Leg Support Crutch
This hands-free crutch alternative is revolutionizing the way people with lower leg injuries get around. Leg support crutches combine the bottom half of a crutch with a horizontal support frame on which the injured leg rests, bent at the knee with the shin facing down.
The bottom of the crutch aid will consist of either a wider, more stabilizing tip or wheels. Leg support crutches do require extra balance on the part of the injured party, but they can also increase your mobility speed and improve your agility while you recover.
Instead of bearing all your weight on your hands, wrists, and armpits like you do with traditional crutches, these types of crutches allow you to distribute weight onto your stronger and abler forearms. Also known as a Lofstrand or elbow crutches, forearm crutches offer cuffs for a user to slide their arms through with hand-holds at the end to grip.
Forearm crutches are often more lightweight and easier to travel with and store than axillary crutches. They also offer better maneuverability, improved agility and walking speed, less impact on your upper body, and easier sitting and standing postures.
In addition to the alternatives listed above, wheelchairs can make it easier for people with lower leg or foot injuries to get around. Experts recommend, however, avoiding complete wheelchair use when possible as physical activity and movement play an important role in the recovery process.
Being able to stay mobile and exercise your good leg and arms while your injured leg heals helps to keep off excess weight gain and prevent against prolonged sitting which has been linked to a variety of health conditions. If you have been given traditional crutches by your treating physician or surgeon, start a conversation about easier, more modern alternatives today!