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Assistive Devices

 

Canes

  • Single-tipped: light weight, easily stored.
  • Quad: has four prongs, more stable, but more cumbersome
  • Canes should be used in the contralateral side.
  • Fitting: elbow with be in 25º of flexion when the tip of the cane is 6" in front and 6" lateral to the small toe.

Crutches

  • More support than a cane, less than a walker
  • Wooden = economical. Aluminum = more expensive, better durability
  • Forearm crutches: only extend to the forearm,
  • Platform crutches: weight transfered through elbow and forearm. Useful for patients with wrist pathology.
  • Complications: generally related to improper fitting; axillary artery or venous thrombosis, brachial plexus palsy (radial nerve)
  • Fitting: top of the crutch should be 2" below the patient's armpits when the patient is standing. Hand pieces should be even with the hips and allow 25º of elbow flexion.

Walkers

  • Provide the greatest support and balance.
  • Rolling walker require less energy to use, but require more patient control and balance.
  • Fitting: the hand grip should be positioned to allow 30º of elbow flexion in a neutral standing position.

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