Clinical Research Reveals The Crutch That Reduces DVT Risk

Clinical Research Reveals The Crutch That Reduces DVT Risk

Have you ever had to use crutches or a knee scooter to get around due to an injury? If so, you may have noticed that they can be uncomfortable, bulky, and awkward to use. But what if there was an alternative that could not only improve your mobility but also improve your blood flow? Well, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Foot & Ankle Orthopaedics, there is! The iWALK3.0 hands-free crutch is a game-changer when it comes to mobility aids.

The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Texas, aimed to compare the effects of using the iWALK 3.0 hands-free crutch, a knee scooter, and traditional crutches on blood flow in the lower limbs.

They found that the iWALK crutch improved blood flow significantly more than the other two walking aids.

Why does this matter?
Well, maintaining healthy blood flow is crucial for overall health, especially when recovering from an injury. It’s essential to healing quickly and effectively. When blood flow is restricted, there is a risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a potentially life-threatening condition where blood clots form in the veins of the legs.

However, the researchers found that using the iWALK crutch contradicts the general understanding that a knee kept bent at a 90-degree angle increases the risk of DVT.

In fact, they found that the iWALK crutch improved blood flow and reduced the risk of DVT compared to the other walking aids, because the act of walking itself mitigates the negative effects of having your knee bent.

So while these risks may still remain when using a scooter, they don’t when walking with an iWALK.

Now, let’s talk about the iWALK crutch itself.
It’s a hands-free crutch that allows users to walk normally, without the need to hold onto anything. It’s essentially a wearable platform that straps to your leg, providing support and stability and the means to continue with daily activities. It’s lightweight, easy to use, and can be adjusted to fit almost any leg size. And, as this study shows, it also has significant health benefits.

So, if you’re in need of a walking aid, whether it’s due to an injury or a disability, it’s worth considering the iWALK3.0 hands-free crutch. Not only will it improve your mobility, but it will also improve your overall health and the effectiveness of your recovery by maintaining healthy blood flow. Amazingly, there are even more clinical benefits to using the iWALK and you can read a bit more about those here.

In conclusion, the ability to improve blood flow and reduce the risk of DVT make the iWALK3.0 a superior choice compared to traditional crutches or knee scooters. So, if you’re looking for a comfortable, convenient, and healthy way to get around, give the iWALK crutch a try.

Reference: Adam P. Bradley, MS, Alexis S. Roehl, Ryan McGrath, PhD, Joseph Smith, PhD, and Kyle J. Hackney, PhD.
Bradley AP, Roehl AS, McGrath R, Smith J, Hackney KJ. Popliteal Blood Flow With Lower-Extremity Injury Mobility Devices.
Foot & Ankle Orthopaedics. 2022;7(4). doi:10.1177/24730114221142784

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How Can I Shower with Crutches? Discover the iWALK for Safe and Easy Showering

Sustaining an injury that requires a period of non-weight bearing can be an incredibly challenging experience, particularly when it comes to everyday activities like taking a shower. For those who are unfamiliar, non-weight bearing injuries mean you cannot put weight on your foot and often require the use of crutches to navigate the world, which can be difficult enough on its own, let alone when it comes to personal hygiene.

Traditional crutches are not designed with showers in mind, and they can make the simple act of taking a shower a dangerous and arduous task. Not only do you have to worry about slipping and falling, but you also have to balance your injured limb while using your crutches for support.

Thankfully, there is a solution that can make showering with a non-weight bearing injury significantly easier: the iWALK3.0 Hands-Free Crutch.

The iWALK is a game-changer for those with non-weight bearing injuries and below knee amputees, as it allows for hands-free mobility. Instead of crutches, the iWALK is a crutch alternative that attaches to your leg, with the knee bent at 90 degrees and a platform to support the injured leg, allowing you to walk normally with both hands free.

When it comes to showering, the iWALK is a safe and effective solution. Unlike traditional crutches, you don’t have to worry about slipping and falling as you make your way to the shower. Instead, you can simply walk, as you normally would, without worrying about losing your balance.

Once you’re in the shower, the iWALK’s waterproof design allows you to shower safely and easily. With both hands free, you can wash yourself without having to worry about balancing on one leg or using your crutches for support. This not only makes showering safer, but it also allows for a more thorough cleaning.

In addition to the practical benefits of using the iWALK in the shower, it also provides a significant boost to your mental health. When you’re recovering from an injury, it’s easy to feel isolated and frustrated. Being able to take a shower independently, without having to rely on someone else, can be a significant boost to your self-esteem and well-being.

In conclusion, showering with a non-weight bearing injury can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. The iWALK3.0 Hands-Free Crutch provides a safe, easy, and effective solution for those with non-weight bearing injuries. By making showering easier and more accessible, the iWALK can help make the recovery process a little bit more manageable. 

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Why a Hands-Free Knee Crutch is Better Than a Knee Scooter

If you’ve ever experienced an injury or surgery that requires you to use crutches or a knee scooter, you know just how inconvenient it can be. You’re not able to use your hands, and carrying anything is nearly impossible. It can also be painful and put strain on your shoulders, arms, and back. Knee scooters can help, as they take the strain out of your shoulders and hands, however they are only suitable on flat surfaces and you still need to use hands to steer them. However, there is a new alternative available that can make your recovery a lot easier and more comfortable: the iWALK3.0 hands-free crutch. In this post, we’ll explain why the iWALK is a better solution than a knee scooter.

First, let’s start by describing what the iWALK is. The iWALK is a medical device designed to replace traditional crutches or knee scooters for patients who need to be non-weight bearing for a period of time. It’s essentially a crutch that straps onto your leg, often likened to a pirate’s ‘peg-leg’, allowing you to walk hands-free. The iWALK allows you to maintain your independence and mobility, without having to rely on others for assistance.

Now, let’s look at some of the reasons why the iWALK is a better solution than a knee scooter:

  1. Greater mobility and ease of use: With the iWALK, you can walk up stairs, navigate tight spaces, and move around much more easily than with a knee scooter. You can even use it in the shower. The iWALK is also much lighter and more compact than a knee scooter, which means you can take it with you anywhere you go.
  2. Better for your overall health: Using the iWALK can actually help improve your overall health, as it allows you to maintain an active lifestyle while you recover. Walking with the iWALK is a weight-bearing activity, which can help reduce muscle atrophy, reduce the risk of blood clots, and improve cardiovascular health.
  3. More affordable: Knee scooters can be quite expensive. The iWALK, on the other hand, is much more affordable and can be a cost-effective solution for many patients. Particularly when you take into account the £50 buy-back scheme for our customers.

One of the biggest drawbacks of a knee scooter is that it can be difficult to manoeuvre, especially in certain situations. Here are some specific examples:

  1. Uneven surfaces: Knee scooters can be challenging to use on uneven surfaces like gravel, grass, or cobblestones. The small wheels can get stuck or catch on obstacles, which can be dangerous and uncomfortable for the user.
  2. Hills and gradients: Going up or down a hill on a knee scooter can be challenging, especially if the slope is steep. You will need to use your good leg to push yourself along or use your hands to help control the speed of the scooter.
  3. Homes without lots of space: Knee scooters can be difficult to use in small or cramped spaces, especially if there are a lot of obstacles in the way. Moving around in a bathroom, for example, can be challenging if there isn’t much room to manoeuvre. You certainly can’t get it in the shower!
  4. Opening doors: Opening doors while using a knee scooter can be tricky, particularly if the door opens toward you. You may need to rely on someone else to help you open doors, which can be inconvenient.
  5. Transporting the scooter: Knee scooters can be bulky and difficult to transport, especially if you need to take them in a car or on public transportation. This can make it challenging to travel or get around outside of your home.

All of these challenges can make using a knee scooter frustrating and difficult, especially for people who are already dealing with the stress of an injury or surgery. The iWALK hands-free crutch, on the other hand, is designed to be easy to use and manoeuvre in a variety of situations. It can help users maintain their independence and mobility, even in situations where a knee scooter may be challenging or impractical.

In conclusion, the iWALK hands-free crutch is a better solution than a knee scooter for many patients. It offers greater mobility, is more comfortable, better for overall health, and more affordable. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to be non-weight bearing for a period of time, the iWALK3.0 is definitely worth considering.

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Below Knee Amputation: Treatment, Surgery & Recovery Advice

A below knee amputation (often referred to as BKA), is an operation during which the lower portion of the leg is removed, whilst the surgeon saves as much of the healthy skin, bone and tissue as possible. This is often a very traumatic surgery, but with the right treatment and rehabilitation, you can get your independence back, along with a high level of functionality and mobility.

Keep reading as we break down the most common causes of BKA, explain what to expect after surgery, and give some insight on the most suitable mobility aids for below knee amputation.

What kind of injuries and illnesses could require below knee amputation?

While some people are born with a congenital amputation – which is a portion of the body missing from birth – a below knee amputation is usually the result of illness or injury. Here are the most common causes of a below knee amputation:

  • Severe infection
  • Inadequate blood supply to the leg
  • After an injury sustained in an accident
  • An ulceration of the leg, or other significant tissue damage
  • To remove a malignant tumour

Below Knee Amputation Surgery & Recovery

Before you have below knee amputation surgery, a physiotherapist will visit you to discuss the recovery process, and advise you on what physiotherapy you’ll need afterwards. They could also check your current level of fitness and range of movement, as this can impact your rehabilitation.

A general anaesthetic is usually administered to anyone having this kind of surgery, which will mean you’re unconscious for the duration of the operation. If you’re on conflicting medications or there are other factors to consider, a regional anaesthetic could be used to numb the area instead – your doctor will decide on the best option for your specific circumstances.

After the operation, you’ll be given medication to help with any pain and discomfort. The remaining part of your leg (also known as a stump, or residuum) will have stitches, and is likely to be dressed in bandages, a rigid dressing or cast to protect it. You might also have a drain attached to your limb, which will collect any blood or fluid – but this is temporary and should only be necessary for the first day or so after the surgery.

If you’re struggling to eat and drink, your doctors may fit you with an IV to make sure you’re getting enough fluids, but it’s also possible that you’ll have a temporary catheter to monitor your urine output, and check your kidneys are functioning properly.

Treatment After a Below Knee Amputation

In the period following your surgery, your post-amputation stump needs to be kept clean and dry at all times, until your stitches have dissolved, or they’re ready to come out – this is to stop it from getting infected.

It’s very common to experience swelling in your limb for as long as a month after the operation, but to counter this, your doctor might prescribe the use of a stump shrinker. This a compression sock designed to prevent or limit localised swelling while your blood vessels heal, but it can also help to prepare your stump for the fitting of a prosthesis.

If you continue to experience considerable pain in the weeks following your surgery, your doctor will help you to develop a personal pain management plan, tailored to your needs. This could include exercises to prevent stiffness, pain control medications to help you heal and sleep comfortably, and a nerve blocker is sometimes prescribed for those suffering with Phantom Limb.

Rehabilitation for a Below Knee Amputation

The rehabilitation process after a below knee amputation can vary hugely in line with your age, fitness and general health, so it looks different for everyone. That said, most rehabilitation plans will involve the following steps:

Physiotherapy

As the pain recedes, your occupational therapist (OT) and nurses will encourage you to start moving around more independently. You may begin some gentle physiotherapy exercises as soon as a week after your surgery, attending the specialist gym at the hospital, where a rehabilitation therapist will discuss your long-term treatment plan with you. This is also a good opportunity to meet other amputees going through a similar process.

Day by day your strength and range of movement will improve, and around two weeks to a month after your operation, you could be discharged, as long as you have a supportive set up at home. The rest of your physiotherapy after this point will take place somewhere local to you, rather than at hospital.

Using a Prosthesis

You’ll be asked to take part in an early walking aid trial to assess whether or not your amputation is suitable for a prosthesis, and if you are, then a prosthetist will visit you at your local practice, and make a cast of your stump for an exact fit.

It’s worth noting that if your condition improves further down the line, you can do the trial again, and be fitted for a prosthesis at a later stage.

If you do have a prosthesis, it will be incorporated into your ongoing physiotherapy sessions so you can learn to get around effectively whilst wearing it, and continue to build your strength.

If you can’t have a prosthesis, you’ll keep working with your OT and physiotherapist, practising exercises and techniques so you can safely move around with crutches or a wheelchair.

Stump Aftercare

Even once the stitches have healed, it’s important you take good care of your stump. You might be given specific aftercare instructions, but generally you’ll be advised to:

  • Gently wash your stump every day, with warm water and mild soap
  • Moisturise the skin before bed, to stop it from drying out
  • Wear fresh socks every day
  • Keep the area clean and dry whenever possible
  • Regularly inspect your stump for any abnormalities or signs of infection
  • Take your prosthesis off before you go to bed

The Best Mobility Aids for Below Knee Amputations

Whether you use a prosthesis or not, there’s a wide range of mobility aids suitable for below knee amputations, which can help you get your confidence back, as well as your freedom of movement. In addition, you will need a mobility aid to assist you in the weeks and months between your amputation and fitting of your prosthesis.

Traditional Crutches

Along with wheelchairs, traditional crutches are often prescribed as the default mobility aid for leg injuries and below knee amputation. Standard-issue crutches are affordable, widely available and come with adjustable hand grips to make them suitable for a range of different heights. After BKA, it may take you a while to find your balance and get walking again; crutches can help with your stability, but consistent use can often cause secondary injuries, such as carpal tunnel, back and shoulder issues or hand blisters.

Knee Scooter

A knee scooter (or knee walker) is mounted on a foldable metal frame with four wheels, and two handlebars for additional control. There’s a padded platform which you rest your knee on, while you use your other leg to push yourself along, and many have convenient baskets where you can keep your personal belongings. While knee scooters do offer an increased level of mobility and comfort, some weight restrictions apply, and you can’t use them to get upstairs.

iWALK Hands Free Knee Crutch

An innovative mobility aid that offers unprecedented flexibility, the iWALK hands-free knee crutch is worn directly on the injured limb, tightly secured by comfortable straps for maximum support and stability. As it’s worn – rather than carried – your hands are left completely free, so you can carry on your day-to-day life unhampered and find a new normal, be it by walking your dog, cooking the dinner or holding hands with your kids.

The iWALK 3.0 offers many other patient benefits too, including improved blood flow, reduced muscle atrophy and a better level of wellbeing overall. Simply put, it can revolutionise the rehabilitation and long-term mobility of anyone learning to walk again after below knee amputation surgery.

It has also been shown to assist amputees develop the skills they need to use a prosthesis during the often lengthy transition period between amputation and eventual prosthesis fitting.

To find out more about using the iWALK hands-free knee crutch after a BKA, take a look at our product reviews from amputees, read a little more on our BKA page, or get in touch with your questions today.

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Hands On – A Physiotherapist’s Review of the iWALK3.0

Hands On – A Physiotherapist’s Review of the iWALK3.0

My name is Tom Stukins. I am a senior, specialist musculoskeletal physiotherapist with 22 years’ experience in treating all manner of injuries, rehabilitating post-operative orthopaedic procedures and helping patients manage a whole range of physical conditions. What follows is my review of the iWALK3.0 from a professional perspective, as well as a personal one.

Like many of my clients I lead a very active lifestyle, cycling to and from work daily, regularly playing tennis and using the gym to keep strong so when I ruptured my Achilles playing squash I was faced with a whole new reality.

Once the rupture was confirmed it meant that I was unable to put any weight through my foot and that I would be dependent on crutches to get around for up to 8 weeks. As anyone that has had to use crutches before will tell you, the novelty wears off VERY quickly! The simplest of tasks like going up and down stairs, making a cup of tea or carrying your dinner to the table, getting your clothes out of the wardrobe, shopping, opening and closing doors suddenly becomes a logistical nightmare requiring military levels of planning and balancing skills to rival the Cirque Du Soleil!

Thankfully over the course of my career I have come across various mobility aides that I have recommended and been made aware of that provide assistance to people in their daily life. That is when I thought of the iWALK knee crutch. As soon as I received the iWALK from UK Knee Crutches, I felt a renewed sense of freedom that I had feared would be lost until I could begin fully weight bearing once more.

The iWALK 3.0 arrives needing a bit of assembly but is easy enough with clear instructional videos available. It is worth taking the time to set the leg of the iWALK 3.0 as accurately as possible to ensure an even leg length whist you are on your feet. It is also well worth taking the time to set the straps up as comfortably as you can as this will make a huge difference in your tolerance to the iWALK and will make walking around a lot more relaxing.

Initially it takes some courage to get going on the iWALK so it may be worth using either one or both crutches whist you get used to how it feels and gain your confidence gradually. But once you ‘find your feet’ you’ll be free to resume many of the daily activities that you would struggle with on crutches.

The huge advantage of the iWALK 3.0 is that it allows you to walk around with both hands free. Using the iWALK, I have been able to get out to the supermarket, cinema, visit friends and I am fully expecting it to allow me to return to work sooner than would otherwise be able to do so (albeit in a slightly more limited way to normal).

One challenge I did encounter is that the boot I am wearing has an inflation valve at the front which needed to be protected whilst using the iWalk 3.0. This was relatively easy to overcome. I simply used a small pad of upholstery foam to create a space for the valve to sit in whilst in use.  It took a bit of getting used to but after a day or so I familiarised myself with it and then my ‘new’ normality resumed.

Having ruptured my Achilles I’ve now seen and felt the effects of injury from a different perspective. I’ve been given first-hand experience of just how much a severe injury can impact your life. For anyone with a foot or ankle injury requiring a prolonged period on crutches, I would HIGHLY recommend the iWALK3.0 from kneecrutches.co.uk and if you’d like to hear and see a bit more about my experience, watch my video review at the top of this page.

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Achilles Tendon Rupture: Treatment & Recovery Advice

Achilles Tendon Rupture: Treatment & Recovery Advice

The Achilles tendon is a chord of strong, fibrous tissue that connects the muscles in your calf to your heel bone. When it’s overstretched or placed under an unusual amount of strain, your Achilles tendon can partially tear or rupture completely – this is a painful injury to the back of your lower leg, which temporarily impacts your mobility.

Keep reading as we unpack the most likely causes of a ruptured Achilles tendon, as well as common symptoms, treatment and the best mobility aids to get you back on your feet.

What could cause a ruptured Achilles tendon?

A ruptured Achilles tendon is sometimes considered an athlete’s injury, as it’s most often caused by overexertion during sport or exercise – but it could happen to anyone. These are some of the most common causes of a ruptured Achilles tendon:

  • Getting older, as this makes your tendons less flexible
  • Obesity, which can put additional strain on your tendons
  • Exercising without warming up properly first
  • Doing exercise more frequently (or more strenuous) than you’re used to
  • Steroid injections can weaken your tendons, and increase the risk of a rupture
  • Similarly, taking certain antibiotics can also increase this risk

Symptoms & Diagnosis for a Ruptured Achilles Tendon

While it’s rare to have no symptoms of a ruptured Achilles tendon, it’s not unheard of. However, most people who’ve sustained this injury notice the following:

  • A “popping” noise when the injury occurs
  • Visible swelling and/or bruising near the heel of your foot
  • Moderate to severe pain in the back of your calf
  • You’re unable to point your toes, or stand on your tiptoes
  • You struggle to put your weight on the injured leg

How is a ruptured Achilles tendon diagnosed?

If you think you’ve ruptured your Achilles tendon, you should go to hospital or seek an emergency appointment with your GP, so it doesn’t begin to heal incorrectly.

The doctor will ask you to describe your symptoms and explain how the injury took place; they might also ask you to walk around, so they can assess your range of movement. They’ll examine the injured leg to check for bruising or swelling, which will usually lead to a diagnosis, but if they’re uncertain, you might be sent for an ultrasound or an MRI.

Ruptured Achilles Tendon Treatment

Once you’ve been diagnosed, you’ll be referred to an orthopaedic surgeon for further consultation – this is a surgeon who specialises in bones, joints and the musculoskeletal system. The recommended treatment for your injury will vary in line with your age, how active you are, and the severity of your injury, so recovery doesn’t look the same for everyone.

That said, the courses of treatment for a ruptured Achilles tendon can be broken down into two categories: surgical and non-surgical.

Non-surgical treatment

If you’re a little older, or have any other health factors to consider, your doctor may recommend a non-surgical form of treatment. This conservative treatment plan will usually involve wearing a cast or walking boot on your injured leg for several weeks, which provides support during the healing process. You might also be instructed to ice the area, rest your tendon by using crutches, and take non-prescription painkillers for any discomfort.

Surgical treatment

For younger patients, patients who are especially active, or those who have ruptured their Achilles tendon before, a surgical repair may be the better option. There are a few different surgeries for repairing an Achilles tendon, including open surgery, or keyhole surgery, which is less invasive.

These procedures generally entail an incision in your ankle or lower leg, so that the surgeon can stitch the torn ends of your tendon back together. Depending on the location of the tear, your other tendons might also be used to reinforce the repair. After the surgery, you’ll be fitted with a cast or an adjustable walking boot to stabilise the area while it heals.

Rehabilitation for a Ruptured Achilles Tendon

Whether you have surgical or non-surgical treatment, the period of rehabilitation afterwards is a similar length. You’ll have regular appointments with a physiotherapist, who will track your progress and prescribe different exercises to strengthen your tendon and leg muscles.

After four to six months, you should be able to take part in low-impact sports like cycling, swimming, or using a cross-trainer. Exercise like this will also help to build up your muscle again, so you can regain your previous level of activity.

How to Prevent an Achilles Tendon Rupture

While rupturing an Achilles tendon is sometimes unpreventable, there are some measures you can take to try and limit the risk. Here are a few things to bear in mind:

  • Don’t run before you can walk. If you’re training, increase the intensity and duration of your exercises gradually, rather than pushing too hard.
  • Mix up your exercises. Rather than consistently sticking to high-impact sports like running, include workouts like hiking and swimming to give your tendons a break.
  • Warm up and down properly. Do some gentle calf stretches before you work out, until you feel a slight pulling – this will increase the flexibility of your tendons.
  • Wear supportive shoes. Don’t train when you’re not wearing suitable footwear, and try to avoid running on unforgiving, slippery surfaces.

Best Mobility Aids for a Ruptured Achilles Tendon

A ruptured Achilles tendon will likely limit your ability to walk for some time, but there are plenty of mobility aids to help you get up and about after your injury, or while you recover from surgery.

Traditional crutches

Often prescribed by the NHS for Achilles tendon injuries, traditional crutches are both affordable and easy to get your hands on. These standard-issue crutches tend to come as a pair, with adjustable hand grips to make them more comfortable. While you might need two crutches at first, you may be able to switch to using one crutch, as soon as you feel comfortable putting a little weight on your injured leg.

Knee scooter

A knee scooter (or knee walker) is a mobility aid on four wheels, with a raised, padded platform to place your knee on, and a pair of handlebars to help with stability. You can then push yourself along with your good leg, at a reasonable walking speed. While knee scooters can be both comfortable and efficient, they can be bulky to store, so they’re not ideal for users who are short on space.

iWALK hands-free knee crutch

Unlike many conventional mobility aids, the iWALK knee crutch is completely hands free, giving you the freedom to carry out all your day-to-day tasks, unimpaired. You don’t carry the iWALK 3.0 like a traditional crutch; instead, it’s strapped directly to your injured leg, so your foot, ankle and calf are fully supported on a raised platform behind you. Once you’re properly strapped in, you walk on the crutch directly by putting your weight on your knee.

This mobility aid has a lot of patient benefits to offer, from the convenience of having full use of your hands, right through to a quicker recovery time. Using your injured leg – even in this limited capacity – can prevent muscle wastage and improve blood flow, which in turn encourages the healing process. You also won’t struggle with the secondary injuries that can occur with traditional crutches, such as hand blisters or carpal tunnel.

With the iWALK hands-free knee crutch, a ruptured Achilles tendon needn’t derail your everyday life – you’ll get your mobility back, and your independence too. Get in touch today and find out more about the iWALK 3.0.

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“Nothing short of a game changer” – how the iWALK 2.0 helped lower-leg amputee, Becca Sellar

“Nothing short of a game changer” – how the iWALK 2.0 helped lower-leg amputee, Becca Sellar

Becca Sellar represents Scotland in amputee football, which led to her being a key figure in the BT Hope United campaign. Alongside the likes of Marcus Rashford, Gareth Bale, Lucy Bronze and a host of the biggest stars in British football, Becca and the rest of the Hope United Team are tackling online hate head on. Her sporting journey started when Finding Your Feet introduced her to amputee football, and it was through them that she found the iWALK2.0.

Below is Becca’s review of her experience with kneecrutches.co.uk and the iWALK crutch.

Finding Your Feet, an Amputee and limb absence charity, recently hooked me up with a hands-free crutch thanks to a donation from Steve at kneecrutches.co.uk, who runs a programme to re-home used iWALK 2.0 and iWALK 3.0 crutches.

The device I have is called the iWALK 2.0 (there’s an upgraded 3.0 version available now), and I’d seen it being used by amputees before on social media. When the opportunity to have one donated to me personally arose, I knew that this could be a great tool to have.

There wasn’t much interest from others on the Finding Your Feet website, which I think was down to ‘independence’ being seen as having as few mobility aids as possible – rather than adding another to the collection. But the iWALK has its own set of uses and benefits that no other type can provide.

The iWALK crutch certainly takes a little bit of investment in terms of time and patience. There are three walkthrough videos to watch, which show you how to fit the device to your body, and how to build up to being able to use it safely and effectively.

I was born with congenital deformities to my right leg. These include a significantly shorter femur on my prosthetic side, which meant the standard fitting for the iWALK crutch (built for human dimensions rather than my wildcard ones!) was slightly off. Steven and I worked together to troubleshoot the problem, and came up with a solution in the form of a chunky piece of foam. Lower leg amputees without a shortened upper leg shouldn’t have any issues or need for extra padding with the iWALK.

I can’t thank Steven enough for his proactivity and enthusiasm for finding a solution to my unusual anatomy!

Personally, the biggest benefit of the iWALK crutch has been in the kitchen! As any user of crutches will know, doing things in the kitchen can be a real challenge. Cooking is pretty much out of the window – unless you’re okay with hopping or using a stool, neither of which I find sustainable.

Not having free hands makes it impossible to carry things, which is another big obstacle. So whenever I was on crutches because my prosthetic was out of action, I’d often go without a drink or snack just to avoid the pain of moving about. That was before I had the iWALK.

Becca Sellar using iWALK 2.0 in front of the Forth Bridge

Becca Sellar using her iWALK 2.0 on the beach in front of the Forth Bridge

The iWALK has also given me a secondary device for being in or around water! It’s the perfect aid for short-term use, or situations where it’s just your lower half getting wet. It’s worked brilliantly for me when I want to get my toes wet with the dog on the beach, without rusting my prosthetic, and I even use it intermittently as an aid at the swimming pool.

In the kitchen and around water are the two main areas where the iWALK 2.0 has been a game changer for me – but as I’m sure you can imagine, there are plenty more instances when having free hands and a lower leg support is fantastic.

Overall, the iWALK is nothing short of a game changer in terms of a mobility aid. While its main market is those with a short-term lower-leg injury, (like a broken ankle) repurposing it for lower limb amputees is a fantastic initiative.

If, like me, you need an occasional, hands-free alternative to your prosthetic, I highly recommend getting in touch with kneecrutches.co.uk!

Here’s a little video of Becca demonstrating how quick and easy it is to put on and use her iWALK crutch.

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Top 5 Best Crutch Alternatives for 2021

Top 5 Best Crutch Alternatives for 2021

In the UK, crutches are prescribed as standard for a wide range of common leg, knee, and ankle injuries. But while they’re the most popular mobility aid on the market, there’s a whole host of reasons why you might wish to find an alternative to crutches.

Many people find it difficult to get the hang of crutches, while others develop poor posture or experience hand and armpit pain during use. There’s also the significant drawback of having both hands occupied whenever you’re on your feet, and the effort that goes into consistently keeping your injured leg elevated. On top of these disadvantages – crutches can prove uncomfortable or impractical for sustained use, so they’re not always suitable for people with long-term health conditions or disabilities.

Thankfully, there’s a wide range of alternative mobility aids available, including everything from scooters to handheld canes – so we’ve put together a list of our top five best crutch alternatives for 2021 below.

1. KneeRover Evolution Steerable Seated Scooter

Great for those who struggle to keep their injured leg elevated, the KneeRover Evolution Steerable Seated Scooter is a mobility aid that prioritises comfort. There’s a large gel padded seat, and a front platform where you can rest your leg, while using the other to push yourself along. Handlebars are fitted to the front of the scooter, along with a convenient storage basket – and the scooter can be neatly folded for travel too.

Despite its folding mechanism, this is still a fairly bulky piece of kit to take with you, and using it requires sitting down, so you won’t benefit from the increased circulation you get from walking.

2. iWALK Hands Free Crutches

Designed to keep you as mobile as possible, without compromising your independence, the iWALK 3.0 hands-free knee crutch is an innovative mobility aid that you physically wear, rather than push, carry, or sit on.

The iWALK is strapped directly to your leg, and keeps your injured foot or ankle lifted up behind you, so there’s no need flex the leg to raise it off the ground yourself. You then walk on your other, weight-bearing leg, and the foot of the crutch itself, leaving both hands free to carry out your everyday tasks with minimal disruption. From golfing to cooking, carrying your kids and picking up the phone – the benefits are endless.

However, if your mobility issues are more extensive than an injured leg, or you need support with stability more generally, you may prefer a walking aid with wheels and a comfortable seat.

3. HurryCane Freedom Edition Folding Cane

A conveniently compact choice, the HurryCane Freedom Edition Folding Cane does as its name suggests, folding into a smaller shape that’s easy to carry. It has a pivoting base comprised of three feet, which helps to maximise stability, as well as a shock-absorbing handle designed to fit comfortably in the hand. This is also one of the most budget-friendly crutch alternatives on the market.

However, it’s worth mentioning that as with conventional crutches, the HurryCane provides no support for your injured leg, so you’ll be responsible for keeping it elevated to avoid bearing weight. You’ll also need one hand on the cane at all times to remain mobile, which limits your range of movement.

4. Drive Medical Four-Wheel Walker Rollator

With a sturdy four-wheel base, durable steel frame and the inclusion of a padded seat, it’s no wonder the Drive Medical Four-Wheel Walker Rollator is so popular amongst users with long-term conditions. There are reliable hand brakes to give you more control, and a small amount of convenient storage under the seat too.

One drawback of the Walker Rollator is that – while it transfers a lot of weight onto your upper body – there’s no means of suspending your injured leg, or keeping weight off it altogether. This might make it more suited to users who need help with stability in general – rather than recovering from a specific injury.

5. Livewell Jaunt Lite Mobility Scooter

The Livewell Jaunt Lite Mobility Scooter is an electric mobility aid, perfect for long-term users who need a lot of assistance getting around, and aren’t comfortable bearing any weight. There’s an adjustable seat and tiller, so it can be tailored to your exact requirements, and while it’s a sizeable scooter, it can be dismantled into five pieces, and fitted into the boot of a car.

As you might expect, this is the priciest mobility aid in the list, so if your injury is temporary, you might consider a more affordable alternative.

Are you ready to ditch your crutches and reclaim your independence?

Head over to our product page to buy or find out more about the iWALK 3.0.

If you have more questions, or you’d like to discuss the iWALK3.0 in further detail, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. You can call, use our online enquiry form, the chat window, or reach out to us on social media – we’re always happy to help.

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How to Stop Crutches from Hurting Your Hands

How to Stop Crutches from Hurting Your Hands

Whether you use crutches as a long-term mobility aid, or you’re relying on them during recovery from an injury, conventional crutches can cause all sorts of secondary discomfort. One of the biggest issues that frequent users experience is hand pain, caused by tightly gripping the handles – which are usually made from hard plastic or rubber – for prolonged periods of time.

Keep reading as we unpack the various ways you can prevent crutches from hurting your hands, and run through a few mobility alternatives worth considering, if you find that crutches aren’t for you.

Adjust Your Crutches

Standard issue elbow crutches can be adjusted in line with your height, which can make them both more practical and comfortable to use. Luckily, it’s super easy to make sure your crutches are properly adjusted:

    1. Stand up straight, and rest your crutch against your arm.
    2. Check that the handle of the crutch is level with your wrist.
    3. If it’s not, push in the pins and move the handle to the right height.
    4. While you’re at it, check that the foot of the crutch is up to scratch. On the bottom of NHS crutches, there should be two distinct grey rings and a circle in the middle. If these have worn away – you may need a replacement pair.

Use Padding to Prevent Soreness

Padding is another way effective way to minimise hand pain when you’re using crutches. You can purchase specially made padding, which slides onto the handle of the crutch to cushion your hand when you put your weight on it – or improvise by wrapping the handle in a soft pair of socks, Tubigrip, or something similar.

Make Sure You’re Using Them Correctly

When you’re given a pair of crutches by your doctor, you should also get a crash course in how to use them, without putting weight on your injured leg. Using crutches correctly will make them more comfortable, help with your posture and the speed of your mobility too. Here’s a little refresher on how to use crutches correctly if your injury is non-weight bearing:

  1. Take a crutch in each hand, and stand with all your weight on your good leg. You’ll need to keep your injured leg elevated slightly behind you.
  2. Make sure the crutches are level with your feet, and placed around 15cm away on each side.
  3. Move both crutches about 30cm forward at the same time.
  4. Lean all of your weight onto the crutches, and then step forward on your uninjured leg.
  5. Repeat this process, bringing the crutches forward then following with your good leg, until you find a comfortable rhythm.

Started using a single crutch? Take a look at our recent blog on How to Walk with One Crutch for a step-by-step breakdown of the process.

Try a Different Mobility Aid

Wheelchair

If you need to avoid putting weight on your injured leg, but you’re struggling to keep it elevated behind you, a wheelchair could be a good temporary alternative to crutches. The NHS should be able to provide you with a basic wheelchair free of charge, but there are also several charitable and voluntary wheelchair hire schemes in the UK which may be able to help.

iWALK Hands Free Knee Crutch

Completely unlike any other mobility aid on the market, the iWALK hands-free knee crutch is a game-changing walking aid that you wear, rather than carry. The iWALK 3.0 is fitted directly to your injured leg, so you put your weight on your knee, while your foot and ankle are strapped to the crutch behind you.

Not only does this revolutionary design allow you to keep both hands free for whatever life throws at you, but is also supports your injured foot or ankle – so you’re spared the effort of keeping it elevated all day. Plus, as you’re still using and moving your injured leg when you walk, you’ll also benefit from increased blood flow, which can help with recovery and decrease the risk of muscle atrophy. You can see a full list of advantages over on our patient benefits page.

Knee Scooter

Usually mounted on three or four wheels, a knee scooter has a comfortable padded platform to rest your injured knee on, while you use your other leg to push yourself along. Equipped with sturdy handles and sometimes even a small storage basket, knee scooters are a convenient option for common foot and ankle injuries at a midrange price point.

Mobility Scooter

The ideal solution if you struggle with mobility in general, and still want a speedy way to get around, mobility scooters are especially popular amongst those with long-term conditions and disabilities. They can vary hugely in price range, according to brand, size and quality, but there are plenty of used mobility scooters on the market at a more affordable price.

Sick of struggling with conventional crutches? Try the iWALK hands-free knee crutch and get your independence back while you recover. Find out more about the new iWALK 3.0 over on it’s product page, and be sure to contact us via social media – or using our online form – if you have any further questions.

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Sprained Ankles: Treatment & Recovery Advice

Sprained Ankles: Treatment & Recovery Advice

A sprain is one of the most common ankle injuries, and usually occurs when your ankle has been forced out of its natural position, resulting in torn or stretched ligaments. There are three categories of sprain, ranging from mild to severe, so treatment and recovery vary in line with the seriousness of the injury. Keep reading to find out more about the different types of sprain, and get advice on treatment, rehabilitation and recovery.

What could cause a sprained ankle?

While sprains are often caused by sport or physical exercise, there are plenty of everyday activities which could also lead to a sprained ankle. Take a look at some of the key sprained ankle causes below:

  • If you land badly after a jump, you could easily jolt your ankle and damage your ligaments.
  • Taking a fall and twisting your ankle inwards – or rolling it outwards – could cause a sprain.
  • Walking on uneven surfaces, such as cobbles, or stepping roughly off a high kerb.
  • Prior injuries in the same area can leave your ankles slightly weakened, and vulnerable to future sprains.
  • You could get a sprain if someone steps on your foot or ankle, or a heavy object lands on it.

Sprained Ankle Symptoms and Diagnosis

Suffering with any of the below symptoms? Then it’s likely you’re dealing with a sprained ankle. Some mild ankle sprains can be treated at home, but if you suspect it’s a bad sprain, don’t try and diagnose it yourself. Instead, seek out the opinion of a medical professional, in case it’s something more serious and to prevent any further damage.

Swelling
Pain
Redness or discoloured bruising
Tenderness or weakness in the joint
Stiffness
Poor range of movement
Inability to bear weight

To properly diagnose a sprained ankle, your doctor will generally carry out a physical examination, to suss out which ligaments have been damaged, determine the extent of the injury and work out how best to treat it. They’ll be keen to test your range of movement, pain level and potentially do an X-ray, MRI or CT scan to double check whether you’ve fractured a bone.

The Three Types of Ankle Sprain

Grade 1 sprain: This is generally very mild, and there’s no serious impact on mobility. A grade 1 sprain is a minor strain on one or more ligaments, with an average recovery period of 2-3 weeks.
Grade 2 sprain: This is a moderate sprain that could be a partial tear of one of your ligaments, resulting in some pain and discomfort, as well as limited range of movement. The standard recovery time for a grade 2 sprain is between 3 and 6 weeks.
Grade 3 sprain: This is the most severe type of sprain, and occurs when there is a complete tear of one of more of your ligaments. A grade 3 sprain can cause a lot of pain, temporarily affect your mobility, and take up to 3 months to heal.

Sprained Ankle Treatment and Rehabilitation

As we mentioned earlier, the treatment and recovery plan for a sprained ankle tends to vary in line with the severity of your injury. For a mild (or grade 1) sprain, your doctor may advise you to treat it at home using the R.I.C.E method. Each letter in this handy acronym stands for one of four treatment steps:
Rest. Avoid using your injured ankle and keep weight off it whenever possible.
Ice. Put an ice pack on the area at regular intervals to prevent further inflammation.
Compression. An elastic bandage or wrap can also keep swelling down and provide support.
Elevation. Prop your injured ankle on a cushion or stool above heart level.
If you’re diagnosed with a more severe sprain, or your sprain doesn’t seem to be on the mend after a week or so, you’ll likely need further medical treatment.
After a doctor has examined the injury, you may be prescribed a walking boot or a brace to stabilise the joint and help the ligaments to heal. At this point, you might also be told whether the ankle is up to bearing any weight, and if it’s not, you’ll be given a pair of crutches.
Once you’ve had your initial appointment, a follow-up should be arranged a few weeks later to determine how your recovery is going, and whether you’re likely to need any physiotherapy to regain your usual level of strength and flexibility.

Best Mobility Aids for a Sprained Ankle

With a moderate or severe sprain, you might need to keep the weight off your ankle for the foreseeable, or at least limit it. If that’s the case, you’ll need a mobility aid to help you get around without causing further damage. Here are some of the walking aids most suited to grade 2 and 3 ankle sprains:

Traditional crutches

Being both convenient and relatively inexpensive, traditional crutches tend to be provided by default to patients with foot, ankle or leg injuries that impact mobility. Most conventional crutches are adjustable, and while they’re generally prescribed as a pair, a single crutch can also be used effectively to get around.

Knee scooters

Also known as knee walkers, knee scooters generally run on four wheels, with handlebars to hold onto and a raised pad for you to rest your knee on, so your injured ankle is lifted up behind you. They can often be quicker and more comfortable to use than standard crutches, but also bulkier to carry with you.

iWALK Hands-free Knee Crutch

If you’re keen to get back on your feet, the iWALK hands-free knee crutch is a foolproof choice. Traditional crutches have to be carried, but the iWALK hands-free knee crutch is actually worn on your injured leg, leaving both hands completely unencumbered. When this crutch is fitted, you put your weight on your knee, which is strapped to a comfortable padded platform – meanwhile, your sprained ankle is conveniently supported behind you.
With its intelligent structure and comfortable design, the iWALK hands-free knee crutch can even help to speed up your recovery by encouraging blood flow in the area, and keeping the muscles in your injured leg active.
Plus, with both hands free you won’t have any trouble carrying your shopping, picking up the phone, holding your toddler’s hand or getting up the stairs. In short, it’s a shortcut back to independence – see the full list of advantages over on our patient benefits page.

Don’t let your sprained ankle keep you from the things you love. Ditch conventional mobility aids and try the iWALK hands-free knee crutch! Get in touch with us today to find out more about the latest iWALK 3.0, and keep tabs on our social media to see people like you regaining their independence while recovering from an injury.

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