When it comes to walking aids, it can be a bit overwhelming, trying to decide on the best product for your needs.

Our staff, along with your therapist if you have one, will be able to assist you in making the correct decision. In this article, we highlight the uses, pros and cons of the most common walking aids.

Crutches

Peak underarm crtuches in yellow

Underarm Crutches

  • short term
  • acute injuries
  • weight-bearing on one leg

Peak forearm support crutches

Forearm/elbow Crutches

  • long term
  • weight-bearing on both legs

Pros

Crutches are height-adjustable and can help improve your overall stability. They reduce the falls risk somewhat, and the crutch helps to offset body weight.

Cons

Can cause you to lean forward which may impact your posture. Crutches require you are mobile in one or both of your hands, arms and shoulders.

Walking Stick Swan Offset Airgo K base walking stick in blackPeak folding walking stick

Walking sticks / canes

  • multiple point options – single, three or quad
  • provide basic support
  • assist with balance
  • decrease weight-bearing on one leg

Pros

Walking sticks come in a range of shapes with various handle options and bases available to suit the individual user. Most are height-adjustable and sticks with three, or four-point bases are good at offering a more comprehensive support base. Walking sticks are also generally lightweight to ensure portability, and some even fold up for ease of storage.

Cons

Canes with wider bases can also present a tripping hazard as there is more of them to get your foot past. If the stick is not correctly used, it could increase the falls risk. Walking sticks also only provide support for one side of your body. If not adjusted to suit your height, they can cause pain in your wrist, elbow, shoulder and back.

Walking Frames / Rollators

Ellipse super lite carbon fibre walker

Three and four-wheel walking frames

  • for people that need extra support for long distances

Peak folding walking frame with wheels

Two-wheel walkers or rollators

  • for people that can stand but need extra support when walking
  • more support than crutches
  • use indoor or over a short-distance

Peak deluxe folding walking frame

Static frames

  • for people that need support when standing and walking

Pros

Walking frames or rollators are great at improving stability as they offer a broader base of support. Their design reduces the risk of falls, and most are height-adjustable, foldable, offer storage, and some even have brakes. Some rollators also have a fold-down seat for resting on.

Cons

Can cause you to lean forward which may impact your posture. Walkers and rollators require you to be mobile in both of your hands, arms and shoulders. Standard walkers need lifting to use, which may limit their usefulness to some. If the walkers are not at the correct height, you can experience pain through your wrist, elbow, shoulder and back.

Walking Tutor Heavy Duty

Forearm support walking frames

  • for people that need maximum weight support
  • useful after hip or pelvic surgery
  • if you are not able to bear weight through your hands or wrists

Pros

A broad base of support for full weight-bearing. Most are height-adjustable.

Cons

Unwieldy sometimes due to their size, which can affect manoeuvrability.


If you get tired when using your walking aids, you may need to consider an upgrade to a wheelchair or even an electric scooter. You can try out all of the mobility aids in our showroom, at 2/1 Metier Linkway, Birtinya. We have accessible parking right at our front door.

If you only need a walking aid for a temporary injury, we also offer equipment hire – see our hire prices.

Information adapted from https://www.nationalmssociety.org/NationalMSSociety/media/MSNationalFiles/Brochures/Brochure-How-to-Choose-the-Mobility-Device-that-is-Right-for-You.pdf, accessed 20 October 2020.