Injuries and mobility issues may require you to use a mobility aid to maintain your independence and get where you need to go safely.
A knee walker is a great option for those with lower-body injuries who would rather not use a wheelchair or crutches.
Benefits of A Knee Walker
- Require minimal upper body strength
- Keep your leg in a non-weight bearing position
- Keep your hands free for use while standing
- Keep the body in a natural upright position
- Work with the body’s natural balance
- Reduce atrophy of muscles by allowing you to use both legs to balance
Most people find that knee scooters are easier – and more fun – to use compared to crutches. Seniors may have a more difficult time using crutches, so knee walkers allow them to enjoy independence without sacrificing safety or comfort.
Uses for Knee Walkers
Knee walkers can be used in any scenario that would also call for crutches, such as lower body injuries. Some common uses for knee scooters include:
An Alternative to Crutches
If you prefer not to use crutches, knee walkers are a great substitute. Those with mobility or balance issues will find that scooters are easier to use and reduce the chance of further injury.
Crutches require a significant amount of upper body strength and can be uncomfortable to use after an extended period of time.
Knee walkers are great for people suffering with ankle injuries. The affected foot has a chance to heal on its own and your legs remain active, which minimizes muscle atrophy.
Whether the ankle is in a cast or a boot, the scooter can be used throughout the recovery process.
Knee scooters can also be used while recovering from foot injuries. The scooter takes the weight off of the affected foot, which allows it to heal on its own. At the same time, the affected leg stays engaged to prevent atrophy.
Just like with ankle injuries, foot injuries are great candidates for knee scooters because they’re easier to use and less taxing on the upper body.
Mobility Aid for Seniors
Seniors with mobility issues can also benefit from using knee walkers. If arthritis is present in one leg, using the scooter may allow the person to be out and on their feet for a longer period of time before feeling fatigue or pain.
While knee scooters can be beneficial for some seniors, it’s still important to have some strength, good vision and good balance to use a knee walker without the risk of further injury.
Bicycle or Car Accident Injury
Car and bicycle accidents often cause lower body injuries, such as the ankle and foot. A knee scooter will help keep the weight off of the affected area so that it can heal properly.
Reaching Higher without Injury
Crutches and wheelchairs make it difficult or impossible to reach items that are higher than eye-level. A turning knee walker will allow you to reach higher because you’re balancing on your knee and your hands are free.
You may be standing while using crutches, but you can’t reach for high items without letting go of the crutch.
Preventing Further Injury
Because crutches require excellent balance and upper body strength, it’s easy to injure yourself further when using them. Navigating stairs and curbs can be especially challenging with crutches. One wrong move could lead to you potentially taking a serious fall.
Knee scooters still require good balance, but they’re much easier to use and require virtually no upper body strength. You also cannot navigate stairs with the scooter. That may sound like an inconvenience, but avoiding stairs completely will help prevent further injury.
Getting in and out of the Shower
If you have a foot or ankle injury, you know how challenging it can be to get in and out of the shower. Crutches make it difficult or even dangerous because you have to hop into the shower. A wheelchair may not be a problem if you have a transfer bench.
But with a knee scooter, you keep the affected leg on the scooter outside of the shower while you bathe. This makes showering less of a chore and safer.
Making Your Knee Scooter More Comfortable
If you plan to use a knee scooter, you’ll need to make sure that it’s properly fitted to avoid discomfort. Here’s how to make the proper adjustments to ensure that your scooter is comfortable to use:
Adjust the Height of the Knee Platform
The knee platform is where you rest your healing leg, so it’s important for it to be the right height. Otherwise, you will put too much strain on your knee or quads when using the walker.
If the platform is not the right height, it can cause back pain or knee pain. It may also require greater effort to move the scooter.
How can you tell if the platform is the right height?
- Stand still and place your injured leg on the knee platform. The uninjured leg should be slightly bent.
If the free leg is fully extended or if that heel is not firmly planted on the ground, the height needs to be lowered. On the other hand, if the free leg is bent too much, the platform will need to be raised.
Adjust the Height of the Handlebar
Along with the knee platform, the height of the handlebar should also be adjusted.
The handlebar should be set at waist level to ensure that your arms are comfortable during use. This also ensures that the hips remain level and the affected leg stays at a 90-degree angle.
A low handlebar will cause you to hunch over or bend your back, which can cause hip and back discomfort. If the bar is too high, you will have a harder time supporting yourself and will become fatigued more easily.
Adjust the Knee Pad Width
If possible, you want to adjust the width of the knee pad after adjusting the height. With some models, the pads can be adjusted to be closer together or farther apart.
Tim is a professional caregiver who has helped hundreds of seniors gain back their freedom and independence. He has been actively helping the senior community for 20+ years.