A knee walker is relatively a new invention. It is sometimes called knee scooter, knee roller or orthopedic scooter.
It is primarily used to provide walking assistance to people with below the knee impairments. What it does is it allows the person to rest an injured leg on the knee walker and use the other healthy leg to propel the device.
A person may lose his or her ability to walk without assistance because of congenital, degenerative or by an accident. A surgical procedure may require weight off the foot or ankle while recovering.
This device has a padded platform (usually a rectangular shaped pillow) on which to rest the injured leg, a steering device for one or both hands and a complete set of wheels.
Here are the 10 benefits of using a knee walker:
- Alternative to Wheelchairs and Crutches
Knee walkers are the ideal alternative to the outmoded wheelchairs and crutches. People recuperating from below the knee injuries traditionally resort to wheelchairs and crutches. Wheelchairs have deteriorative effect, rather than rehabilitative effect. And not everyone has the required upper body strength for crutches. Walkers eliminate the normal strain associated with using a pair of crutches. Problems associated with crutches include grueling use, fatigue and soreness of the hands and chest wall.
This device provides stability to the injured leg and as such the individual can still move around.
- Saves Energy
A basic knee walker is an energy-saving device. On level smooth surfaces, this device uses less energy. Knee walkers like the Generation 2 Weil knee walker requires 25% less energy compared to crutches. A study by Roberts and Carnes confirmed that the actual and the perceived work of walking are significantly reduced using the knee walker.
- Free Hands
In the case of crutches, the hands cannot be used for other purposes. This leads to carpal tunnel syndrome – a condition that causes numbness, tingling and other symptoms of the hand and arm. The knee walkers by Patterson Medical, for instance, can easily be steered with knee pressure. This leaves the hands free and allows individuals more mobility compared to walking with crutches.
- Injured Foot Elevation
The injured foot is elevated in this mobility device. A padded platform or a rectangular shaped pillow supports the shin.
- Body Weight Distribution
Through both legs, the body-weight is distributed with this walking tool.
- Preserves Muscle Bulk
The regular movement of the muscles near the injured leg helps in the preservation of the muscle bulk.
- Strengthen Bones
As the muscles near the injured leg are extensively used, this helps in strengthening the bone.
- Rehabilitation Value
This ambulatory tool is particularly helpful for the recuperation of patients with foot and ankle injuries who must remain non-weight bearing.
- Treatment for Diabetic Plantar Ulcers
As an alternative to contact plasters or bed rest, this assistive equipment is used to treat those suffering from diabetic foot ulcers. One of the most significant complications of diabetes is the diabetic foot. It is defined as a sore on a foot that occurs in 15% of diabetic patients at some point during their lifetime.
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