Mobility aids are a great help to people with disabilities or injuries. They will help and support individuals with mobility issues to move around. Mobility aids play a crucial role in sports rehabilitation as well. These devices provide more freedom, pain relief, speed up the process of recovery, and confidence to injured athletes. Let’s take a look at common types of mobility aids and their role in sports rehabilitation.
Types Of Mobility Aids
There are various types of mobility aids. In sports rehabilitation, they facilitate the recovery and reintegration of athletes who have suffered injuries and undergone surgeries. Here are some of the common types of mobility aids:
Crutches are medical devices that aid individuals with walking disabilities in reducing the risk of falling. It is a type of walking aid that works by transferring the body weight from the legs to the torso and legs. There are different types of crutches; they include:
- Axilla or underarm crutches: Individuals who have undergone short-term injuries benefit from underarm crutches. An injured person places the crutch against the ribcage under the armpit and holds on to the hand grip to gain support while walking.
- Lofstrand or forearm crutches: Typically, people with long-term disabilities use forearm crutches. Unlike underarm crutches, Lofstrand crutches have a forearm cuff along with a handgrip.
- Platform crutches or gutter clutches: These types of crutches are mainly used for additional support. They are specially designed for people with weak handgrips due to medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Canes, also known as walking sticks, are designed to provide support for walking and standing. Using a cane while walking reduces the pressure on both legs. There are a few types of crutches; they include:
- White canes: White canes are designed for visually impaired individuals. Unlike other canes, white canes are longer and thinner, which will help the individual detect obstacles in the path. White canes provide independence and self-esteem to people with visual impairments.
- Quadruped or quad canes: As the name implies, quad canes have four legs at the end of the cane. The four feet at the end provide improved weight support, a wider base, and greater stability.
- Forearm canes: They offer extra support. They distribute the weight from the wrist to the arm.
Walkers, also known as Zimmer frames, are used by individuals who have undergone surgeries. Walkers will also aid individuals with broken bones in the foot or leg and persons with medical conditions such as arthritis or leg weakness. Some of the common types of walkers are
- Standard walkers or pick-up walkers: Standard walkers are one of the most common types of walkers with four legs. These walkers do not have wheels, but rubber tips. An individual needs to lift the walker to move around. Standard walkers offer sufficient stability.
- Two-wheeled walkers: As the name suggests, these walkers have two wheels on the front legs. Unlike a standard walker, two-wheeled walkers allow walkers to stand upright easily and aid in good posture.
- Four-wheeled walkers: Four-wheeled walkers provide immense support to individuals facing extreme balance issues in their legs. But four-wheeled walkers offer less stability than standard walkers.
- Three-wheeled walkers: An individual with unsteadiness can move around using three-wheeled walkers in tight spaces.
- Knee-walkers: These types of walkers are specially designed for people with leg injuries. Knee walkers will have a platform, four wheels, and handles. An individual can rest his injured leg on the platform and use the other leg to push the walker forward.
Individuals with spinal cord injuries or people who cannot put weight on their lower body need wheelchairs to move around. Unlike walkers or crutches, wheelchairs offer increased mobility, and a person can cover more distance using a wheelchair. There are manually and electronically operated wheelchairs available.
💠 Mobility Scooters
Mobility scooters, also known as power scooters, are for individuals with disabilities, injuries, or other health conditions. Together, they are used by individuals with mobility issues. It is an alternative to wheelchairs. Mobility scooters have handlebars to control directions, and it will be beneficial for people without upper body strength to operate a manual wheelchair.
💠 Adaptive Bicycles
Adaptive bicycles are modified bicycles designed for individuals with various mobility issues. Individuals with disabilities, injuries, cerebral palsy, paralysis, and traumatic brain injuries can use adaptive bicycles.
Benefits Of Mobility Aids In Sports Rehabilitation
Mobility aids enable athletes to recover from injuries faster. The use of medical aids not only promotes sports rehabilitation but also improves the mental state of an injured athlete. Let’s find out the benefits of mobility aids in sports rehabilitation.
- Improve mobility: Mobility aids provide the necessary support for injured athletes to move around without difficulty.
- Enhance independence: Sometimes, an unexpected injury may dwindle the mental strength of an athlete. The lack of mobility will develop a sense of discomfort in athletes undergoing rehabilitation. Using mobility aids will provide independence for them. Injured athletes can move around without the help of others.
- Gradual progression: Using mobility aids will gradually improve activity levels. Athletes can use mobility aids during the first stages of treatment, and they can gradually reduce their dependency on mobility aids as they regain strength.
- Offer balance and stability. An injury to the legs or feet can lead to a temporary imbalance. The use of mobility aids can help the athlete regain balance.
- Safe return to play: With the support of mobility aids, athletes can safely return to play. Mobility aids improve the quality of the recovery process, and athletes can safely return to the field. It will also reduce the risk of re-injury.
The use of mobility aids in sports rehabilitation will have a positive impact on the recovery process of athletes. The use of mobility devices like crutches, canes, walkers, wheelchairs, mobility scooters, and adaptive bicycles will offer enhanced mobility, independence, balance, and stability; improve the recovery process; enhance mental health; and lower the risk of reinjury in athletes.