So you finally did it. You injured yourself badly enough that you have to hobble around on crutches. Once you visit your doctor, you find out that you have several weeks to months of staying non weight bearing in your future. And once you get your crutches and start to attempt regular life on them, you realize just how hard getting around can be. After a few days of slow motions, sore armpits, and clumsy actions, you might even find yourself asking, “What can I use instead of crutches?” Here are a few ideas.
If you do not want to spend much time looking for an alternative to crutches, you may be able to get by using a few household items. If you have a rolling desk chair, for example, make sure you sit in it when you are trying to move around the kitchen to cook. You will free up your hands and you will not feel as clumsy as you move around. Of course, you still won’t be able to access those top cabinets, but at least your armpits will feel better! You can also use things like footstools when you are in the shower to help you take a longer shower without endangering yourself or your bathroom. Get a little creative and you can stay off your crutches at home for long stretches of time.
Hands Free Crutch
If you want to have the use of both your hands back and have good balance consider renting or purchasing the Hands Free Crutch. It can be used inside, outside, and even in the shower. This device straps to your injured leg and, with your knee bent at a 90-degree angle, you can walk much like normal. You will look like you have a peg leg, but there won’t be much you cannot do, including stairs. This mobility device is easy to take off and put on as well and you can store it much faster than crutches. It may take a few days to gain confidence using the device. Some people will use a cane in their good hand as they learn the device, then it's hands free freedom.
If you are comfortable putting weight on your knee and you want something more stable and even easier to operate, you could consider the Knee Walker. Aslo called a knee scooter or by the brand name Roll-a-bout it is the most common optin to crutches. You rest on knee of your bad leg, much like the Hands Free Crutch. The knee walker has wheels so you can kneel on the padded knee rest and push yourself from place to place with your good leg. Once you get the hang of it, you might even be able to move faster than before. The removable basket can be handy for carrying items, but can be easily removed to get closer to needed area like a kitchen cabinet. It adjusts for the patients height and for which leg is injured. The unit folds for easy storage and transport. People have even taken the knee scooter on airplanes as they travel.
If you cannot use your knee to bear weight do to an injury or arthritis, there are still modern options to crutches. The seated scooter is very similar to the knee scooter, but you sit on a large padded seat instead of kneeling. The removable basket is included. This device allows you to scoot yourself from place to place like the Knee Walker, but you can do so from a seated position. Not only will you be able to get where you need to be, but you can rest yourself at the same time. You may still have to work out how to go up and down stairs on crutches, but at least you will not have to worry about slipping and falling or any of the other ailments that plague you when you’re on crutches. It too folds for easy storage and transport.
Many people think of this as a last resort or as the worst possible resort. For the right conditions, a wheelchair might be the best option. If you have long distances to go and have someone to help push, you may want to consider a wheel chair. One young mother used a hands free crutch around her multi-level home. At work the knee scooter was ideal in the large office building with elevators. Yet when they traveled to Disney, she left both options in the hotel and opted for a courtesy wheel chair. Her daughter rode on her lap when tired, their was always room to carry things, and the crowds parted our of habit for a wheelchair.
When you are injured, everything is harder, but things don’t have to be as hard as crutches often make them. Examine your individual needs and abilities. Then consider the modern mobility options that best fits your need for stability, mobility and freedom.