Pros And Cons Of Crutches Vs Other Mobility Devices

When it comes to the walking aides, there’s no room for compromise. A useful aid will take you to your recovery a lot faster than a cheaper one.

However, there are more factors in play rather than just price. Like, a variation of aides for one.

Through the research and development of different injury types and outside support that is needed we now have some options to choose from.

Let’s go through all of them – one by one.

Pros and Cons of Crutches

pros and cons of crutches

Crutches are the grandfather of all medical assistive walking aides.

It’s the most common there is, the emergency room will supply you with free ones but not comfortable ones at that.

A crutch is space friendly, user-friendly and of various uses. Crutches pros and cons are mentioned below.

Pros

  • More natural learning curve, learning to use crutches is a no-brainer.
  • Uses whole upper body strength, not just arm’s.
  • Carrying and storing a crutch/pair of crutches is less cumbersome.
  • More comfortable to walk up or down on stairs than other assistive mobility devices.
  • Reasonably inexpensive, fanciest ones are less than a hundred dollars, starting from 25.
  • Can be of help in various injuries – temporary or lifelong disabilities.

Cons

  • Can cause injuries to underarm, can cause numbness.
  • Not easy to balance.
  • Harder to move on some surfaces.

Pros and Cons of Wheelchairs

pros and cons of wheelchairs

Wheelchairs are relatively common these days.

In most hospitals, you’ll see patients rolling on these even without severe walking disability – to be in ease after an operation or to deal with weakness due to health conditions.

One great thing about a wheelchair is the speed of operation.

Compared to other helping aides we know, among wheelchair or crutches- wheelchair is by far fastest.

Pros

  • Simple design – less prone to a sudden breakdown. Moreover, even if it happens, repair is relatively easy.
  • Easy to carry around by folding side to side.
  • Long lasting due to the nature of the metal frame.
  • Larger sized wheels help to propel towards the destination with relative ease.

Cons

  • The ones that weigh less will cost more; nearly a thousand dollars. The price skyrockets as the wheelchair, by nature, demands durable, sturdy steel frames which are costly if we are looking for lightweight wheelchairs.
  • Adjustability or custom improvements are not available if you want something more than changing the length of the footsteps and such.
  • You’d have to get up from the chair to access high spaces.
  • A not ideal choice if you want to move around narrow spaces like most economy class apartments available.

Judging from the disadvantages, a crutch is a way more favorable price and mobility-wise.

Pros and Cons of Canes

pros and cons of canes

Canes are the most widely used items you’ll see here.

A cane can be used and is being regularly used as an accessory of day to day life.

It’s been used as an item of great respect and portrays aristocracy as well.

As a walking aid, a cane is a lightweight device that can help reduce stress on your leg effectively.

Between cane or crutches, the Cane is the most popular choice especially because senior citizens are often seen to use it.

Pros

  • Portability is one of its greatest strength. A cane is easy to carry and doesn’t stand out that much. There’ll be comparatively less looking down upon you while you use a Cane.
  • Helps to reduce knee or ankle sprain.
  • Relatively inexpensive.
  • A cane supports 25% of your body weight, so in light injuries, a Cane is your best bet.
  • A cane is usable in going up or down in stairs pretty quickly.

Cons

  • Constant use of a cane will most definitely strain your shoulder and cause pain.
  • If not used proper materials, a straight cane will break quickly.
  • Wrong or non-ergonomic grips can cause numbness or tingles like sensation in hand and wrists.
  • Not universally usable in all injuries, most serious cases require much more support from the aide than a cane can provide. For example, a Cane is not ideal for post back surgery rehab as it does not allow specific muscles to get stronger.

Canes may look perfect for all your troubles, but if we factor all the risks and potential damage to hand and shoulder, crutches are a safer choice.

Pros and Cons of Knee Scooters

pros and cons of knee scooters

Any of the aides mentioned here need a learning period to adjust to, but a knee scooter is the hardest of them all.

It is a supposedly advanced form of the single-sided crutch that can be used without the help of hands or arms.

So between knee scooters or crutches- knee scooters are preferable.

Pros

  • Say goodbye to hassles of arm numbness or hand pain of crutches.
  • Work environment-friendly.
  • Comes with a stylish look and user-friendly design.

Cons

  • Can only be applied to injuries a that is under the knee.
  • Has a steep learning curve.
  • Movement of the patient becomes restricted due to the nature of the design.
  • Going upwards by stair is difficult.

Apart from ease of movement or getting used to a knee scooter, a crutch will be better than a knee scooter.

In cases of hand pain or underarm numbness, adjusting the height of adding soft surface may help.

Pros and Cons of Walkers

pros and cons of walkers

A walker is a hand-dependent four-legged frame that enables people with low lower-body strength to walk comfortably.

Wheels are sometimes used on the front two legs if necessary.

A walker or crutches is the primary assistive tool for old age when support is needed to walk due to weakness in the spine.

Pros

  • Gives great support.
  • Easy to balance, so an ideal choice for senior citizens.

Cons

  • Cumbersome to carry in or out of any place. Even after folding, you’ll need to assign a healthy amount of space to keep a walker.
  • Not maneuverable; moving up and down with a walker is not easy.
  • Not ideal for narrow spaces, even going through a doorway will give you a hard time.
  • Not usable in leg injuries only supports weak spine situations.

Walkers are great to some extent, but for mobility and space optimization a crutch is a much efficient option, at least for young people.

Conclusion

Finally, you get to know about different mobile devices and their differences with crutches.

Depending on the seriousness of your injury and comfortability you can choose anyone according to your best comfort.

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Hi, I'm Doctor Jo, a licensed Physical Therapist, and a Doctor of Physical Therapy. I hope you enjoy my article of stretches & exercises for common injuries and syndromes. If you have a question, just ask. Be safe. Have fun. And I hope you feel better soon.

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