Mobility Equipment Buyer’s Guide
July 7th, 2010 at 11:58 am
Diminished mobility, temporary or otherwise, can be a real show stopper when it comes to your independence. The reality is, you don’t need to miss another minute of your life because of mobility issues. Just ask any of the millions of wheelchair, mobility scooter, walker and cane users worldwide.
With the large range of mobility products available today, it would be a shame for anyone capable of using them to sit idly by. Let Allegro help you take control of your life, reduce your pain, improve your safety and lessen your dependence on others with a mobility device.
Which Mobility Equipment is Best for You?
Canes – Canes are most often used to improve your balance as you walk, or to compensate for an injury or disability. No longer whittled out of any old tree branch, walking canes have come a long way in their engineering, usability and comfort.
Your cane should be long enough that you don’t have to bend down to use it (save your back!). You’ll want your elbow to bend at a comfortable angle. Measure from the floor to the crease in your wrist when your arm is hanging straight down from your side. That is the optimal height for the top of the cane.
Stock up on rubber tips so you’ll always have replacements on hand. Check the cane’s weight capacity to ensure it can support your weight. Choose from Standard C Canes (min support, best if used for balance), Specialty Canes, 4-legged Quad Canes (weight bearing) and Hemi Walkers (max support) depending on your stability. Remember when walking with a cane, you hold the cane in the hand opposite of your injured or weak foot. It is used as a counter-balance, not a foot replacement.
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Walkers – If you are ambulatory, but you have poor balance or are at risk for falling you are a good candidate for a walker. If you are extremely wobbly, you will want to consider a Standard Walker (no wheels) because of their stability, but keep in mind that they are not as easy to push forward as a two-wheeled walker or a 4-wheeled rollator.
2-Wheeled Walkers let you put weight on the walker as you move. The two back legs have no wheels so the walker won’t roll away while you’re stepping forward, but the wheeled front legs allow you to easily move the walker forward. Brilliant.
If balance isn’t a concern, you’ll move along more quickly with a 4-wheeled walker also called a Rollator. My 96-year old grandmother loves her rollator because it has hand brakes, a seat and a basket . . . and it looks snazzy. Make a fashion statement, dontate to a great charity and support breast cancer awareness by choosing a pink rollator!
Knee Walkers are for those with foot/ankle injuries or surgeries. A great substitute for crutches, a knee walker lets you get around without putting any weight on your foot. We recommend the ones with turning wheels (steerable).
Check the Specialty Walkers category if you’re looking for a child’s gait trainer, a bariatric walker, hemi walker, transport chair/rollator combos and specialty parts.
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Wheelchairs - Before choosing a wheelchair you must review your goals, lifestyle, current and future needs, living environment, how you will use the wheelchair, whether you will drive a car or transport the chair as a passenger. This evaluation process will help you decide which type(s) of chair will work for you.
Lightweight Wheelchairs are easy to maneuver (reduces upper body stress) and to lift for transport. The frames and components are made of aluminum or titanium so they are very strong, but light. The only drawback may be the passenger weight capacity, so be sure to check. Ultra Lightweight Wheelchairs offer the ultimate freedom and are great for active paraplegic and quadriplegic users.
Many active manual wheelchair users participate in sports using a Sports Chair, designed with cambered wheels and light, tough frames for ultimate contact and maneuverablility on the baskeball or tennis court. If you’re up for the challenge, check out the racing wheelchairs as well.
Transport chairs are a good choice for those who cannot roll themselves in a manual chair. The transport wheelchairs have handles on the back allowing someone to push the passenger. They are a wonderful solution for transporting someone out of the house, to the car, down the hall, around the zoo, through the airport, etc. See all transport chairs, along with pool wheelchairs, transport/rollator combos, beach wheelchairs and travel chairs in Transport/Specialty Chairs.
Power Wheelchairs may be the perfect solution for those who are completely incapable of rolling even a lightweight manual wheelchair. They generally have a tight turning radius so they can get in and out of small spaces. On the flip side, they are generally very heavy and difficult to transport.
Lift and transport your wheelchair (up to 100 lbs) on your trailer hitch with a Wheelchair Carrier.
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Mobility Scooters - For those with limited mobility, poor upper body strength but good manual dexterity, an electric mobility scooter (power scooter) is a fun alternative to a wheelchair. They travel on battery power and have lots of options – which means they demand special consideration when purchasing.
Mobility Scooter Buyers Guides
Whether it is a cane, walker, manual wheelchair, power chair or mobility scooter, we wish you all the best in maintaining your independence and living life to the fullest.
Allegro has mobility experts ready to assist you in choosing your mobility equipment. Please feel free to call our customer service department, toll free at 1-800-861-3211.