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Walking Aids

There are a large variety of walking aids available for people who need help with their mobility in the short term or for longer periods. During rehabilitation, a person may progress from one type of aid to another as their strength increases and they need less and less support. Walking aids can be of great benefit to:

  • People with injuries on one or both legs where the person has to reduce the weight that bears on that injury e.g. severe sprains, fractures, or following surgery or amputation.
  • People who experience pain in any weight-bearing joint due to injury or disease.
  • People with reduced balance due to general debility, injury or disease.

The choice of walking aid depends on the person, their mobility, their fitness condition etc and the correct choice and fitting of walking aids is best done by a qualified physiotherapist.

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Crutches provide excellent bilateral support for people who have non-weight bearing ability (they can hop on their good leg) or partial weight bearing ability. A certain amount of skill and dexterity is needed to use crutches safely. Three types of crutches are available:

  • Axillary - or underarm crutches - made from wood or aluminium.
  • Forearm crutches - also called elbow or "Canadian" crutches.
  • Arthritic - also called "gutter" crutches.
Walking Sticks

There are many styles of walking sticks available and again, the choice of stick will depend on the persons condition and their personal preference. Walking stick designs available include:

  • Single point sticks - the most common, usually made of wood or aluminium
  • 3-point (tripod) and four point (quad) sticks - ideal for those who need more support.
  • The tripod and quad stick designs are used by people who require additional support (i.e. due to poor balance). Depending on the person's disability, either one or two sticks may be used.
Walking Frames

Walking frames offer more support with their larger base area and are available in fixed, adjustable and folding designs. Optional accessories include wheels (or castors) plus glide brakes which make the frames easier to move, but care must be taken when using them.