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Use of Walking Aids in Physiotherapy

A physiotherapist recovering their patients by mobilization and support to make them independent. And yes, here, touch plays a vital role!


Physiotherapy and rehabilitation are mainly to give patients independence with respect to their daily activities. Independence is the ultimate goal so that you do not have to depend on someone else for anything. Physiotherapy and walking aids go hand in hand. Once trained properly, walking aids become very easy to use.

Use of Walking Aids

Walking aids have been useful since the time of World War 1. In fact, before the actual walking aids were invented, humans used to use tree branches to help them walk. Here are some of the important uses of waking aids:

  • Helps in independent or partially dependent locomotion from one place to another.
  • Acts as a good assistance especially in the acute period of injury.
  • Useful in musculoskeletal and neurological conditions.
  • Due to usage of walking aid, the effort on the affected limb of the body reduces.
  • Other person's or care giver's assistance reduces.

Different types of walking aids have different uses. Here are a few common types of walking aids that are used more often.

1. Wheelchairs

Today, wheelchairs have a huge number of modifications depending on the patient's needs. From a manually driven wheelchair to a peer wheelchair, it shows a wide range of different types.

Unless a patient is completely bedridden or has severe restriction of movements, a power wheelchair is not recommended.

The major disadvantage of wheelchair usage is that it needs home environment modifications like wide wheelchair-accessible passage, a ramp for it to drive in and washroom modification as well. But wheelchairs help patients get around easily when walking is not possible.

2) Walkers

Walkers are the very first assistive devices used after injury or post an operation of lower limbs. These are also used while progressing to mobilization. Walkers usually are four stand framed and have good quality of support. They consist of all 4 ferrules, all 4 wheels or 2 wheels and 2 ferrules as per the patient requirements. Since walker is slightly heavier than cane and crutches, it is better to have a light weighef walker so that it can be carried easily by patient.


3) Crutches

Crutches consist of an arm pad for support and ferrules below to avoid friction. They are held mainly in both the arms. There are two types of crutches- 1) Axillary crutches and 2) Elbow crutches. For those who do not have enough grip strength to hold the crutches such as in neurological condition, usually use elbow crutches. Walking needs to be trained and performed under supervision of physiotherapist. And later, patient can independently use it.

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4) Cane or Stick

A cane or a stick is simple slender cylindrical walking aid. It is not necessary that a stick has to be used post some injury or disability. After crossing a certain age when loss of balance occurs, use of cane acts as a good support. It is always better to have a tripod cane for those have balance issues. A tripod cane always serves as a better support than a single stand cane.

Before using walking aids, learning a proper procedure by your doctor is very important. Nowadays, the improving technology has bought multiple types and modifications in such walking aids inorder to ease out effort of patients. But never forget that your mindset should focus on standing on your own feet and living independently.

This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2020 Natasha Tungare


Halemane Muralikrishna from South India on April 29, 2020:

Very Good Article, Ms Natasha, support to the disabled is most essential. Your article creates good awareness to that effect. However, I feel there is not sufficient improvisation as far as the facilities with regard to mobility are concerned. Our road transport and overnight travels by the railways are still a horrifying dream for aged persons with mobility issues.

Natasha Tungare (author) from India on April 28, 2020:

Yes @Liz Westwood ! You are totally right! Many are dependent

Natasha Tungare (author) from India on April 28, 2020:

Thank you so much Prateek!! Happy to know that you received some useful information through this

Liz Westwood from UK on April 28, 2020:

Many people at sometime in their lives are dependant on these aids for various reasons.

Prateek Jain from Madhya Pradesh, India on April 28, 2020:

This is really an important information. You have written a wonderful article Natasha mam. This article shows that you have a very strong command on your subject. Thank you for educating us by way of your brilliant articles. I am gaining a lot of knowledge from your articles. Thank you for sharing this valuable information.

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