FV Hospital - World Class Healthcare in Vietnam

Walking Aid Information

WHAT ARE WALKING AIDS?

Walking aids are orthopedic medical devices. They are used to help you when walking or to improve your balance after lower limb injury, surgery or any weakness. Walking aids support your legs by increasing the weight on your arms therefore reducing the weight on your legs.

Such devices are provided upon medical prescription.

WHY DOES YOUR DOCTOR PRESCRIBE YOU WALKING AIDS?

Your doctor could prescribe you walking aids:

  • For non-weight bearing on your injured leg.
  • To allow partial weight bearing as your injured leg heals.
  • To enhance your balance if your legs are weak.

WHAT KIND OF WALKING AIDS CAN YOU GET?

Following your doctor’s request and after a physiotherapy assessment, your physiotherapist will choose and fit the best choice of device. This will be adapted for your safety and allow for improved independence. Walking aids provided can be: a walker, forearm crutches, underarm crutches, a stick or a quad-stick.

WHAT IS A GOOD FITTING?

For a good fitting of your device, you should be able to stand straight:

  • With your hands placed on handgrips and allowing a slight bending of your elbow of about 15 degrees.
  • If underarm crutches are prescribed there should be no pressure under your armpits. Ensure there is space for three fingers between your armpit and the top of the crutches.

WHAT SHOULD I ENSURE WHEN USING WALKING AIDS?

Your physiotherapist will give you advice on how to use walking aids properly in order to walk safely with them. However, you and your family will need to ensure a safe environment by:

  • Using walking aids only on firm ground;
  • Wearing flat, stable and safe shoes;
  • Checking the rubber tips regularly;
  • Watching out for uneven surfaces or inadequate lighting.

If you feel tired, not well or unstable please ask your doctor or physiotherapist for advice without delay and avoid using your device until receiving further information.

WHAT DO I NEED TO BE CAREFUL WITH?

You need to be careful in all the following situations:

  • Unsteady surfaces (beach, gravel, mud…)
  • Slippery surfaces (wet or waxed floors or smooth cement floors)
  • Rugs, especially on waxed floors
  • Telephone or other extension cords
  • Crowded places
  • Children toys
  • Pets

WHAT ABOUT WALKING AIDS MAINTENANCE?

If you use your walking aids for a long period of time, please check regularly for:

  • Wear and tear of the rubber tips.
  • Any tube damage.

Any damage parts need to be replaced and new tips can be collected from where you buy your device.

Walking aids should be cleaned with a mild detergent, wiped off with water and then dried with a clean cloth. Do not immerse the device in water.

If you have any problem with your walking aids, please contact the department or supplier that issued them to you.

WHAT’S REHABILITATION FOR?

To improve recovery, your doctor must refer you to rehabilitation for guidance when using walking aids.
Rehabilitation will help you:

  • To prevent immobilisation effects,
  • To prevent neurovascular disorders,
  • To prevent developing a limp, muscle weakness or joint stiffness,
  • To enhance your balance,
  • To help recovery,
  • To help you return back to your activities more quickly.

Your physiotherapist will give you all advice and provide appropriate, individualised exercises for your physical and medical condition.

HOW MAY I IMPROVE MY BODY WHEN I USING WALKING AIDS?

To improve the circulation of your legs:

  • When you are not up and about, organise rest times to elevate your injured leg to prevent foot or leg swelling.
    • In a sitting position, elevate your foot higher than your hip. Provide support under your leg to prevent knee strain.
    • In a lying position, raise from 5 to 10 cm the foot of the bed up by placing bricks or books underneath. Placing a pillow under your calves is not recommended as it may hinder blood circulation.
  • Curl and stretch the toes of both feet 20 times every hour.

To improve mobility, strengthening, balance or for pain control, please practice the exercises advised by your physiotherapist.

HOW TO USE WALKING AID?

This guideline is not a substitute to your physiotherapist’s advice.

During your first use of walking aids, the physiotherapist is the most qualified person to explain, demonstrate, instruct and provide advice needed for a safe and appropriate use.

For your SAFETY!

Footwear should be appropriate and supportive.
Walking equipment should not be used on slippery or wet floor.

FOR BASIC WALKING

IF YOU ARE ADVISED TO WALK WITH COMPLETE WEIGHT BEARING:

One or two crutches or a walking frame could help you to preserve a well balanced gait and allow for a faster recovery. If your therapist advises you to use only 1 crutch, handle this crutch on the opposite side of your “weak leg”. A walking frame could also be used to walk with complete weight bearing.

1. Put your crutches or walking frame forward.
2. Step your “weak leg” forward to your crutches.
3. Lean your weight onto your crutches and your “weak leg”.
4. Step your “good leg” forward, past the “weak leg”.
When you have your balance, please repeat stages1 to 4.

IF YOU ARE ADVISED TO WALK WITH PARTIAL WEIGHT BEARING ON YOUR INJURED LEG:
Two crutches or a walking frame are needed. Respect the partial weight bearing advised by your doctor.
1. Put your crutches or walking frame forward.
2. Step your injured leg forward to the crutches and land your foot partially on the floor.
3. Lean your weight mostly onto the crutches and partially on your injured leg.
4. Step your “good leg” forward, past the injured leg.
When you have your balance, please repeat stages 1 to 4.

IF YOU ARE ADVISED NOT TO HAVE ANY WEIGHT BEARING ONTO YOUR INJURED LEG:
Two crutches or a walking frame are needed. Respect the non-weight bearing advised by your doctor.
1. Put your crutches or walking aid forward.
2. Step your injured leg forward to crutches ensuring your injured leg is kept off the ground.
3. Lean your weight onto your crutches.
4. Step your “good leg” just past your injured leg.
When you have your balance, please repeat stages 1 to 4.

FOR SITTING

TO SIT DOWN
1. Turn and back up to the chair until you feel the edge of the chair against the back of your “good leg”.
2. Remove the crutches from your hands and place them against a support. Make sure they are easy to reach for standing up later.
3. Carefully put your “weak leg” slightly forward.
4. Reach back with your hands for the armrest or edge of the chair and lean your weight on your hands.
5. Gently bend your body forward at the same time as you are bending the knee of your “good leg”. Place your weight on your hands as you are sitting down.

TO GET UP
1. Always make sure that your crutches are easy to reach.
2. Sit on the edge of your chair.
3. Bend your “good leg” against the chair and put your “weak leg” slightly forward.
4. Hold the chair or armrests with both hands. Bend your body forward and push yourself up. Lean your weight on your hands to get up on your “good leg”.
5. Make sure you are well balanced before taking your crutches.
People using walking frame are not allowed to go up and down stairs alone.
Go up or down stairs with crutches only if indicated by your therapist.
Use the handrail if available.

USING STAIRS

TO GO UPSTAIRS
1. Face the stairs and walk up close to the bottom.
2. Keep your crutches on the same level that you are standing.
3. Lean your weight on your hands and step up your “good leg”.
4. Follow with your “weak leg” and crutches.
When you have your balance, please repeat stages1 to 4.
Remember: “up with the good leg”.

TO GO DOWN STAIRS
1. Stand with the toes of your “good leg” close to the edge of the step.
2. Lower your crutches to the step below.
3. Lean your weight on your hands.
4. Slowly lower your “weak leg” on the same step as your crutches, followed by your “good leg”.
When you have your balance, please repeat stages 1 to 4.
Remember: “Down with the “weak leg”.

For any further information, please contact
Rehabilitation Department – FV Hospital 1st floor
Tel (028) 5411 3340 – Or (028) 5411 3333 ext 1085