The main difference between knee walkers and crutches is that knee walkers are a more thoughtful approach to aid mobility issues compared to crutches. Experiencing limited movement capabilities after an injury would make you explore the best mobility aid options.
While crutches are the automatic go-to recommendation after someone has been injured, it is not the only one or the most adequate for every person or circumstance.
To have a more comprehensive view of knee walkers and crutches' limitations and advantages, let’s evaluate their performance in different areas.
While using crutches for a prolonged amount of time can cause discomfort. Crutches support your body weight by placing them on your underarms. As your armpits support your entire weight, they can cause irritation and pain. Your hands can also hurt from using crutches. Furthermore, the prolonged use of crutches while recovering from an injury can cause back and shoulder pain.
Research has shown that people can not correctly distribute their body weight between the injured and non-injured size. Thus they end up putting weight on the affected side, causing more pain and slowing down the recovery time and healing.
On the other hand, knee walkers are the pain-free option as it ensures better body weight distribution and balance of the patient’s body. Also, if the injury is in your foot by using a knee walker, you will not need to put it on the ground, enabling faster rehabilitation and avoiding added pain.
When choosing between crutches or knee scooters, it is crucial to consider the weather where you live. Crutches are not a safe option if you are in a place that rains frequently or the streets and roads are covered with ice in the wintertime. By contrast, the way the knee scooter is designed makes it versatile and adaptable to different climate environments. It can also reduce the possibility of falls and slips, this way becoming a safer mobility aid option.
While some people's rehabilitation journey may benefit from the strength-building that is required to use crutches, others may worsen their condition. Patients that sustain long-term injuries or disabilities are in need of a more gentle and comfortable mobility aid, such as a knee walker. For these individuals using a knee scooter gives them the possibility to get around their daily routine with ease. Activities like opening doors, carrying things like groceries, food and drinks and other housework can be accomplished with no hassle using a knee walker instead of crutches.
It is evident for most that when it comes to mobility aid equipment, crutches are the cheaper option; they can even be rented. On the other hand, knee walkers are expensive due to their more elaborate design and elements that they possess. However, patients with disabilities or injuries with an extended recovery time faced using a mobility aid for a long time. Thus, knee scooters are a more suitable option regardless of the price.
Using crutches requires strength, as you need to support your body weight using your underarms and hands. The use of crutches for a prolonged period of time can create pain in the hands, arms and shoulders. Knee scooters are a better option for seniors or people who are experiencing weakness due to a health condition or more severe physical limitations.
The knee walker allows you to stay in an upright and natural position, with your shoulders back and your "good" leg continuing in a comfortable stride - reducing back strain. A knee scooter maintains your balance and stability while reducing muscle atrophy, thanks to the fact that it utilizes the use of both legs. By contrast, when using crutches, it may be harder to maintain good posture as it requires more strength.
Using a knee scooter preserves your physical energy, as you are not physically lifting a pair of crutches up and down to walk. When you move from point a to point b while using a knee walker, you can stop and rest. This way, you are not pushing yourself and, therefore, delaying your recovery from the injury.
How to using the Knee Walker Correctly?
To make the most of your knee scooter, it is important to keep the following in mind:
Fit properly the knee scooter to you
- Adjust the height of the knee rest to make sure that your knee is at 90 degrees. The knee should not be deeply bent
- Adjust the height of the hand rest to be aligned around the height of your belly button or waist
- The knee scooter should have four wheels, the wider their separation, the more stability it will have
- Check that all height adjustment points are tightened. The knee walker can feel wobbly if left untightened, especially the handlebars.
- Move slowly at the pace of a casual walker
- Be aware of your surroundings
- Debris or an object hitting a wheel can make your hands twist and cause a fall.
- Cracks or joints in concrete or thresholds to rooms should be approached with both wheels square to avoid your hands twisting.
- When you are in tight spaces like hallways, use the Y turn to reverse the direction
- Move slowly when backing up as the knee walker is less stable when backing up
Avoid when moving
- Don’t lean forwards or backwards. Keep your body straight as if you were walking
- Don’t lift the knee scooter and hop on one foot trying to make a turn in a tight space
- Don’t take corners quickly. It can cause the knee walker to lean and most likely fall over