If you are someone who has ended up with a leg injury that required immobilization, reduced weight bearing, or surgery here are some helpful hints to help while you are recovering:
Difficulty getting up and down from chairs or toilets
- Chair: A simple fix is to place 1-2 pillows or cushions in the chair seat and use a chair with armrests to allow you to use your arm to assist with getting up. This will reduce the force and energy required to get up and down to the chair seat.
- Toilet: You can purchase either a clip-on toilet seat riser with or without armrests or a commode chair to keep near the bed at night.
Use the right walking aide for the job
Frequently after a leg injury or surgery there will be a time ranging from a few days up to 2-3 months where you will not be allowed to put full weight on the injured limb. There is a large array of walking assistive devices, but there are typically 3 types:
- Walker: This is the most stable of the walking aides and usually is the preferred device early in the injury or post-surgery phase.
- Advantages: Stable, allows for maximum arm assistance, good for patients with existing balance issues
- Disadvantages: Bulky, cannot go up and down stairs
- Crutches: Using two crutches can allow for the same level of reduction of weight bearing of the leg as a walker. There are two standard types. The most common is the Axillary crutch, and the other is the Loftstrand (forearm) crutch.
- Advantages: Allows for quicker movement, can be used to go up and down stairs, can move about in more compact spaces
- Disadvantages: Not as stable as a walker so requires a high level of balance and coordination, resting or hanging the arm over the top of an axillary crutch can cause nerve irritation
- Cane: This is the lowest level of reduced weight bearing for the leg, usually utilized in the later stages of recovery. Types are standard straight cane (single support base), or quad cane (wider 4-legged base).
- Advantages: Lightweight and easy to carry, can be used to go up and down stairs
- Disadvantages: Cannot use for someone who must be non-weight bearing or must have more than 20% of body weight restriction on the injured leg
Other helpful aids
- Sock pullers: These can allow a person who cannot bend over or bring the injured foot up high enough to reach to put on their own socks.
- Long handled shoehorn: Allows for easier effort to put a shoe on the injured leg.
- Slip on or elastic lace shoes: Best to use rubber soled and supportive shoes.
- Grabbers/Reachers: Allow you to reach high or low places without losing your balance and risking a fall.
- Loop straps: Allow you to use your arms to help move or swing the injured limb onto beds, couches, in and out of cars.
- Adaptive clothes: Typically pants that are wider and close with zippers, magnets or velcro. Allow for easier dressing over braces or casts.
Trinity Rehab offers treatment options for many of these conditions, including the Alter-G gravity-eliminated treadmill, EPAT (acoustic pressure wave therapy), and skilled physical therapy to help restore you back to your previous lifestyle!
Contact us for additional information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our licensed physical therapists.