If you are recovering from an injury or surgery, we know that at some point you want to be able to get outside and live your life to its fullest. Limited mobility, however, may make the prospect of navigating outside of your home difficult. Depending upon your situation, however, mobility devices such as canes, crutches, walkers, and wheelchairs may offer assistance.
While either a walker or a cane will provide support while walking, the right device for you will depend upon your level of strength and stability.
Canes: A cane is a more appropriate option for everyday mobility and support if you can generally maintain your balance, but are experiencing mild balancing problems due to an injury or a medical condition. You should consider a cane if you are experiencing pain or an injury to only one side of your body, be it a foot, leg, or knee.
Walkers: You should consider a walker if you are experiencing moderate gait problems which have an effect on both sides of your body. You would be a good candidate for a walker if you have arthritis in both knees or if you have recently undergone a hip replacement operation. While a walker can support up to half of your body weight, you will still need sufficient strength in both hands to grip the bar, as well as sufficient upper body strength to support your remaining body weight.
When purchasing a wheelchair, you have the option of acquiring a self-propelled wheelchair, a transport wheelchair, a power wheelchair or a sports model. In order to choose the right type of wheelchair, it is important to know how each type performs.
Manual wheelchairs have two large wheels in the rear with two smaller wheels up front. They also have a handle in the rear which allows a caregiver to assist in pushing. While a manual chair allows for the most amount of maneuverability in getting in and out of various venues, it requires a certain amount of arm and/or leg strength.
Transport Wheelchairs have two small wheels in the back and two small wheels up front along with handles in the rear. Transport wheelchairs are not designed for self-propulsion and require your reliance on someone else to get around.
Sports Wheelchairs are manual, self-propelled wheelchairs that are specifically designed for the person who desires to be out on the court or on the track. They tend to have larger wheels and the absence of a backrest. A sports wheelchair is either collapsible or can be taken apart like a bicycle for easy transport.