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Walking Aids

What types of walking aids are available?

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Updated June 09, 2014

Walking aids are helpful for patients who have chronic problems, including hip and knee arthritis, as well as those who have acute injuries, such as ankle sprains and leg fractures.

Finding the right type of walking aid will help you along the way.

Single-Point Cane

Old hands with walking stick
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A single-point cane is helpful for many conditions where a little extra support can alleviate pain and discomfort. A cane is the simplest way to lend some support to the leg, though it is not an appropriate option when weight must be completely removed from the extremity.

Be sure to know which hand to hold the cane with.

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Quad Cane

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A quad cane is a good option for people who need more stability than a standard single-point cane can offer, but who do not need the full support of a walker.

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Crutches

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Crutches allow you to completely remove weight from the extremity. Crutches require good stability and upper body strength, so they are often less useful to elderly patients. However, crutches can provide both excellent support and freedom for those with ample strength.

Using crutches takes getting used to, but a few simple steps can help you get around.

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Walker

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A walker is the most supportive walking aid, though it's also the most cumbersome.

A walker is an excellent option for patients with poor balance or less upper body strength. New walkers have many options and features that can make the device more convenient to use.

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Knee Walker

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The knee walker is simple to use, and one of the easiest ways to get around safely and quickly without placing weight on the leg. Many people who have a hard time using crutches, and don't want to be slowed down by a walker, will find the knee walker a worthwhile investment.

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