A knee walker or wheelchair
You have seen or heard people saying that knee scooters are fast, stable and have tight turning circles. But you might be asking yourself how do you operate one? The answer is just simple as operating a scooter is no different than operating any scooter you had seen or used while you were still a kid. You rest your injured leg on a seat pad while using the injured leg to propel it forward. It has a drum or loop braking mechanism that enables fast braking and therefore you do not have to use your feet for braking. But you must know how to use it properly to prevent more injuries as well as prolong its lifespan.
How does a Knee walker look like?
This is no different from a knee scooter. There are different types and models on the market. But the standard and basic knee walker design consist of two wheels or three wheels or four wheels. This is can be called knee cruiser, knee caddy, knee walker or orthopedic scooter.
The design keeps changing over time as it started from small-wheeled designs purposely for indoor cruising and it evolved to tough orthopedic scooters with large wheels that can reach to12 inches for outdoor cruising. From my experience, the bigger the scooter’s wheels in diameter the easier to ride.
How do you operate a knee walker?
In this post, we will be discussing how to get the right posture, speed, balance as well as stability. Besides we will discuss the type of surfaces that are good for a knee scooter. A lot of people can scoot well for the first 15 minutes, as scooting is not so difficult.
Can I use a knee walker to climb upstairs?
This is among the questions that are commonly asked. The fact is that it is not advisable to do that as it is very dangerous as it can lead you to lose balance, slip, and fall leading to severe injuries that can lead to bone fracture or death.
It is very hard to maneuver a scooter when moving up or downstairs. You cannot control your scooter and balance it at the same time when walking upon the stairs.
You can learn how to use a knee scooter on stairs but this can be applied only on wide stairs if you want to use it on shallow stairs make sure that the stairs do not exceed 2-3 in number.
Body posture is essential when learning to use a knee scooter
The best knee scooter that will suit you is the one that you can adjust its height, with large wheels and a large seat that can support you comfortably when you are standing.
Adjusting the height of the handlebar
All manufacturers install adjustable bars on their scooters that are easy to slide up or down relatively corresponding with your height. The knee platform should also be adjustable and some brands offer this on their scooters. In case you are very tall or too short, this is essential as it will help you adjust your scooter for comfortability.
Make sure that you read the manufacturer’s manual to know how far can a stem be raised or lowered. It will be a wastage of money and time if you have a height of 6″4″ and buy a scooter that is meant for people who are 5″6″.
Sliding the handlebars
The handlebars must be in a proper height position to prevent you from experiencing sore back and neck as well as straining your shoulders as you scoot. You have to slide the handlebar up or down adjusting its position to a height that makes you feel comfortable.
Put your elbows in a flexed position
To find the idle position, you have to place your knee upon the pad and then loosen the adjustment knob to let the handles slide easily. Then you will have to hold the handlebars and stand up straight. This will let your elbows be at their most comfortable position when flexed with a bit of bending at the elbow.
Never lock your elbows
Locking them has a tendency of putting strains on both of your arms, upper back, and shoulders.
Adjust your knee wheelchair’s seat
Below the knee scooter’s seat, there is a lever or knob that can be used to adjust the height. This can be used to raise or lower the height of the seat by holding on the seat sides tight and then adjusting it up or down. When done you can tighten the lever or screw as this depends on the type and model of the scooter. Some of the levers are installed with safety pins to hold them in place. This means that you will have to remove the pins before you can adjust the seats.
Check to see if the lever is secure and tight once you are done.
The knee pad size and width
Your knee pad must be large. This will enable it to support your leg more comfortably without having to stress yourself to keep it in position. Make sure to check for these features before you purchase your knee scooter as the cheaper versions might not include this feature.
Types of Knee scooters pads
There are mainly two types of knee scooter pads. There are those with flat surfaces and those with a channel. It depends on your personal preference when making your choice. From my personal experience, the channel type works better as it keeps the injured knee still as it helps to keep your leg in place preventing it from sliding off which is essential in reducing pain.
These have flat surfaces and may often lead the leg to slip. The advantage of this is that it is easy to clean.
When you are learning to properly use your knee scooter, your knee is in a better position when the injured leg is resting comfortably in the middle of the seat pad. Your uninjured leg rests firmly on the ground surface or floor.
Before you purchase a knee scooter there are all sorts of knee scooters that you can test to find one that suits you.
All types of seats offer padding levels. The size of the seat that you need will depend on the level and type of injury or surgery as well as pain sensitivity. Everyone has his/her unique needs.
How to adjust your knee scooter for comfortability?
In case you traveling for quite a long distance your injured leg might feel pain and things might get worse when you move over rough surfaces. But there are three options that will help you in making your knee scooter more comfortable as discussed below;
Most of the handle grips are soft, but your scooter might have ridged, hard plastic, non-ergonomically shaped, etc handle grips. With these kind offhand grips, you will need to change them into softer grips. Neoprene foam tubes, gel grips or soft-touch rubber grips are available in many stores and these can slip over the existing grips.
Sheepskin seat covers
You can make your knee scooter more comfortable by adding a thick cushy sheepskin cover over the existing seat cushion. The thick soft pile helps in reducing chafing, cushions over painful jarring while reducing the leg slipping effect. These covers can be found in real and fake sheepskin.
Memory foam knee pad covers
You can also opt for a memory foam which is also a good option. Normally they are found in 2-inches thick. These provide extra comfort factor that reduces jarring as well as discomfort while you scoot around. You will have to buy the thickest memory foam for ultimate comfort. These slip over the existing seat just like the sheepskin.
How to use you’re a moving knee scooter?
There is a variety of knee scooters on the market. What is important is to find the one that suits your needs. This guide will help you to know how you can use your scooter properly as well as how you can maintain it.
The first thing is to make sure that your uninjured foot, the knee of your injured foot as well as your hips are aligned in the same position with your lower back. To move forward, you will have to propel yourself using your uninjured foot. This will prevent your injured foot from experiencing pain and further injury.
Balancing on a moving knee walker
To balance well on the knee scooter, you first have to lock the brakes to make sure that you are in a stable position to prevent falling. Then you will have to place your injured knee upon the seat platform and level your body.
Once you feel comfortable, you can now release the brakes and use your uninjured leg to propel the scooter by pushing it forward. During a turn or in case you want to slow down just engage the brakes by pushing the handlebar so that the scooter slows a bit down.
Knee scooters travel so fast and are very easy to move around corners, through doors as well as objects.
Benefits of using the best knee scooter
When you use the best knee scooter, you will not need using crutches.
Crutches are rare these days as they are uncomfortable and can cause further injury. Crutches can make you trip so easily and they can lead to soring of your armpits. This is because crutches depend on your upper body muscles to maneuver them. This makes it difficult and sometimes totally impossible for people who are suffering from health issues such as arthritis to use crutches. Sometimes crutches can lead you to lose balance especially when walking over slippery surfaces such as on icy pavements.
A knee scooter will enable you to reach for higher things such as things stored in cupboards, wall mounts and shelves. You can reach them and hold them with both hands. This is impossible when using crutches. Besides some scooters come with a basket option that will enable you to put your items such as iPad, groceries, and other things inside it for easy carrying. This will leave your hands free for maneuvering and steering your scooter.
Best surfaces that are suitable for learning how to use your knee scooter
Hard surfaces are the best surfaces that you can start with when practicing. Make sure that the surface is free from pebbles, sticks, bumps or any other kinds of stuff that might cause you any problem. Most of the knee walkers on the market will work well on all surfaces. Some of the knee scooters are far better from others. This can be determined by just looking at the size of the wheels’ diameter, the bigger the radius and diameter the better for outdoor rolling. Wide wheels also are good at absorbing shocks as well as bumps.
You must read the user’s manual or you can read the model description online about the features and capacity of the scooter. Some of the knee scooters can work both indoors and outdoors while others are just meant to be used indoors and will not work well when used out.
Knee scooters for sale
There are a lot of local stores and online stores such as Amazon where you can buy any kind of a knee scooter. Knee scooters do not cost a big ransom as their price ranges from $100 to $400 depending on the size as well as the features that come along. The price might go higher than that if you want extra components to be installed such as sheepskin cushions, gel handles, etc.
It will be to your advantage if you make your research and know the features, benefits, and limitations of each model before you decide to buy one. Not all knee scooters will full fill your needs, as some will be comfortable than others.