To be specific walking is the manner in which we move from place to place using the feet, movement at a regular speed and fairly low pace by lifting and setting down each foot one after the other by turns, not having both feet off the ground at one time. This is one of the highest accuracy level of a human body controlled skill.
Prime requirement for easy walking include:
Lower limbs providing correct support to the upper body mass
Ambulation or Rhythmic movement of the lower limbs
Balance control of the moving body as a whole
Ability to propel the body in the direction intended
However, due to various reasons including corrective surgeries or operations, old age and accidents, one has to take the support of a walking aid to be able to walk. Walking aid is a device designed to assist in walking better and improve the mobility of people who have difficulty in moving about or those who cannot walk independently. Walking aids have become necessary to assist and aid in the post operative care also during the period when the patient attempts to get out of the bed and engages in movement activity such as standing, sitting, bending, and walking at the earliest opportunity after a surgery. To support these activities different types of walking aids are available, such as:
1. Underarm or axillary Crutches
2. Elbow or Forearm crutches
4. Stick or Cane
Walking aids help in
Increase in support area or support base
Maintain center of gravity over support base
Re-distribute the weight bearing area by reducing force on injured limb
Compensate for weak muscles
Restrain from losing balance and resulting in falling down.
However, there are several precautions that need to be taken like. Having a sturdy person nearby for assistance needed till such time the person is accustomed to using the walking aid. Frequent check of all connected accessories is secure. You need to check the screws and nuts at least once a week. Keep the walking aid clean from dirt, stones in the rubber base, etc. The user needs to be aware of wet or waxed floors. It is best to avoid crowds and crowded places. You also need to remember to use a backpack to carry things instead of trying to carry by hand. Check the condition of the rubber soles regularly for wear and tear.
Now let us look at the advantages of using a pair of normal axillary crutches. The advantages are:
1. Convenience for use for temporary injuries
2. Tremendous support for the lower part of the body
3. Easily available and inexpensive
4. Allows the patient to perform far more moving patterns and walk at a far greater pace with ease
Elbow or forearm crutches are manufactured using an aluminum shaft with a hand grip and a forearm band bent backward and extended below the elbow which is both adjustable. These crutches are ideal for patients with balance and proper coordination of arms. Weight is transmitted exactly in the same manner as for underarm crutches. Advantages of elbow or forearm crutches are:
Freedom for hand usage
Requirement of less energy, increase in oxygen consumption
Can be easily stored and transported
No risk of injury to the back.
Walkers are mechanical devices for people desiring to walk with aids who need more support than a pair of crutches could provide. The standard type is made of Aluminum pipes. It has four legs with rubber bases, plastic hand grips and adjustable legs.
In order to walk with the walker one needs to move the walker ahead about 6 inches bearing the body weight on both legs. Then move the right foot up to the walker while the body weight is borne by the left leg and both arms. Next, move the left foot up to the right foot while the body weight is borne by the right leg and both arms.
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