To be able to walk is the most basic, essential and satisfying need of a human being. Walking may be affected by many conditions affecting the lower limbs as well as some systemic disorders. There are many walking aids available to assist the process of walking. They are crutches,canes, walkers etc.
Features of a walking aid
- Should be lightweight, but at the same time support the body weight.
- Should be specific for the patient,in other words suitable to the patient condition.
- Should help in normalising the walking pattern as near normal as possible.
- Should be durable.
- Should be easy to carry while travelling.
How to take the measurement
- Crutches measurement is taken with the patient in the standing position. Using an inch tape, measure two inches below axilla to two inches lateral to the foot and six inches anterior. The handgrip is adjusted to get a 20 to 30 degrees of elbow flexion.
- Cane measurement is taken with the patient in standing position. Top of the cane should be at the level of the greater trochanter (bone on upper part of the femur), and the distal end placed six inches from the lateral border of the foot.
- Walker measurement is similar to that of a cane. The top of the walker should come to the level of the greater trochanter and elbow should flex 20 to 30 degrees.
Types of walking aids:
- Standard cane
- Quad cane
Modes of walking
- Non weight bearing
- Partial weight bearing
- Full weight bearing
Different modes of walking are taught to the patients depending on their condition. They may use:
- Three point walking
- Four point walking
- Two point walking
- Shadow walking
With the right walking partner, recovery can become a lot smoother & easier.