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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