Ambulatory Aids

Written by Serena Berger
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Ambulatory aids are anything that can help a person with limited mobility get around. Canes and crutches qualify, as do walkers and wheelchairs. It is very important to get the right style, size, and fit of any of these options for someone who needs one. The right fit will be helpful, easy to use, and maybe even speed recovery--while the wrong choice may prolong the problem or introduce new problems.

Crutches are often used for short-term care. You might need them for less than a week if you were unable to put weight on your foot due to a small incision or problem with a corn or wart. You will need them slightly longer if you have a broken bone and have to keep weight off it for several weeks.

Styles of Crutches

If you cannot get measured for the appropriate size of crutches by a doctor or expert who can then supply them, you should get adjustable crutches. If the height of your crutches is even an inch off, you will get terrible aches and pains in your back and arms from the stress being placed on your body during use. Adjustable crutches should have increments no bigger than one inch so that the height you get is right for you.

There are many different styles of crutches. The kind you might be most familiar with are just known as standard crutches. These crutches have a curved rubber pad which goes under your arm, while your hands extend down to a horizontal crossbar which you grasp with your arms held straight. Even at their best, these are the least comfortable crutches, which is why you often see people with towels wrapped around the under-arm rest. Forearm and elbow crutches are much more comfortable for most people. In these cases, a sturdy bracelet-type feature closes around your forearm or just above your elbow to keep the crutch in place, and a small handle then rests where your hand naturally falls. These crutches are much less unwieldy and more comfortable and maneuverable for anyone who can use them.

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