Being able to walk is a gift - a gift that few of us think about. When we are stripped of such gifts, only then do we truly acknowledge their value. Should you ever need assistance with walking, there are options for aids such as canes, walkers, and crutches, as well as some advanced aids such as manual and power wheelchairs.
As the name suggests, a cane is a stick with a curved handle. It is the most used and the most common walking aid. If you have a little pain in your legs or need a little bit of support to walk, the cane is your way to go. A cane should be your number one choice as it is not only helpful but also extremely portable.
At least once in your life, you might have come across someone using crutches, or perhaps you might have used them yourself! Crutches are used when a person can’t support his weight on his legs. This might occur due to an injury such as a fracture. Crutches reduce the weight on your legs and hence, increase stability and balance.
A walker is often described as an older version of a rollator. It is mostly used indoors and like all walking aids, it helps you get around. However, with its four legs, it provides better and stronger support than a cane.
Rollators are also walkers. However, the difference between a walker and a rollator is that the latter possesses wheels and a brake system. Unlike walkers, rollators may be used outdoors and often come with additional accessories such as attached baskets and holders.
A manual wheelchair is basically a rollator, except that it has a seat and relatively large wheels. Manual wheelchairs are operated externally by either the person sitting in the wheelchair or another person walking behind and pushing. Wheelchairs are one of the most used walking aids available.
The power wheelchair is a walking-aid which can be operated without significant physical effort. As compared to a manual wheelchair, a power wheelchair comes with an automated motor, and a system to control that motor. A power wheelchair can be used indoors as well as outdoors which gives it an edge over other walking aids. It is both comfortable and mobile.
The field of walking aids has seen revolutionary advancements and innovations since its initiation. Walking aids have transformed from simple sticks and canes to advanced walkers, rollators, and wheelchairs. Not only this, a number of electronic scooters have also been invented to help disabled people roam freely just like everybody else. In 2011 a company developing walking aids released its first self-balancing powered walker. The walker uses sensors to detect the weight and angle of the body and provides respective and efficient support. In the end, it all comes down to choosing the aid that best fits your needs depending on your medical condition.