A knee scooter is a non-motorized mobility aid with two three, or four wheels. It is used as an alternative to regular walkers, crutches, or cranes. A knee scooter includes a resting platform for knees and a pair of handlebars. It is used by people with leg temporary or permanent related injuries.
A knee scooter is an ambulation aid that allows the user easy and safe movement preventing the injured leg from taking additional strain. It helps in movement using the better leg. This leads to lesser pain and faster healing for the user. A knee scooter is known by many other names like Knee Walker, Platform Walker, Knee Cruiser, Knee Coaster, Knee Caddy, Orthopedic Scooter, or Leg Walker.
What is a Knee Scooter used for?
A Knee Scooter is designed to help the mobility for users who have a permanently disabled or temporarily injured ankle or foot. In such situations, it becomes difficult for them to put any weight on the affected side. A knee scooter helps the user in carrying on with daily routine while the affected side recovers or heals. It is commonly used for temporary conditions like after a foot surgery. To know more, you can read our article about best knee scooters for foot surgery.
Different kinds of knee scooters
There are mainly three kinds of knee scooters available in the market.
Standard Knee Scooters are the basic models of Knee Scooters that serve the purpose of moving around indoors. They are small in size and are easy to maneuver in hallways or around different corners inside the house. They are also convenient for small spaces like bathrooms.
All-Terrain Knee Scooters are useful if you spend most of your time outdoors. These scooters can help you access gravel, dirt, grass, or icy surfaces. They have large wheels that help you move over more difficult terrain. To know more, you can read our article about the best all terrain knee scooters.
Pediatric Knee Scooters have features that are similar to a Standard Scooter. The major difference is related to its size. They are available for smaller people that would include children or adults who are less than 5 feet 5 inches in height.
How is a knee scooter different from crutches?
Knee scooters and crutches are used in similar situations. When ou have a temporary or permanent injury in one of your feet. But they differ from each other in the following ways.
Body strength needed
The first point of difference between a knee scooter and crutches is the body strength needed to use these devices. In the case of conventional crutches, your body weight puts in a lot of pressure on your arms. They can be inconvenient, even annoying to use. Crutches can be troublesome especially if you are suffering from arthritis.
However, with a knee scooter, your movement is facilitated by the leg muscles of the unaffected leg while the injured leg can rest. This can encourage users to move around more easily. As compared to crutches, knee scooters can be effortless and even fun to use.
Mobility is another factor that differentiates knee scooters and crutches. With crutches, the user would have limited mobility. You may even require assistance in getting around, especially for outdoors like grocery shopping. It would be difficult to reach out for groceries and may often lead to pain in the underarms due to the immense pressure on that area.
With knee scooters, you can be hands-free. You can perform your daily activities easily with a knee scooter. You can reach out for things kept at a height. You can even stand while providing your injured leg with adequate rest and do your daily standing task like cooking or washing up the utensils.
Crutches can pose difficulty when used in inclement weather. The rubber feet can be slick on some kinds of terrains with movement on ice becoming another treacherous situation. The simple and basic design of a Knee Scooter makes it not only resilient but able to work in all types of climates and weather conditions. Thus, there are far lesser chances of slips and falls in this case.
Last but not the least, it is Weight Restrictions that differentiate both mobility aids. Crutches have weight restrictions associated with them making them unsafe for heavier patients. Knee Scooters are typically designed for a wider range of users and can hold more weights as compared to crutches.
In what situations can a knee scooter be helpful?
If you have had surgery of ankle or foot, Knee Scooters are very useful before and after the surgery. Knee Scooters are also helpful during recovery from a sprain or fracture in the ankle, ulcers or wounds in the foot or from an inflamed Achilles tendon.
If your leg, ankle, or foot is permanently disabled, a Knee Scooter would assist you in maneuvering around comfortably. If you are facing difficulty in walking due to pain or discomfort in your ankle or foot, a Knee Scooter would be your companion.
Even in cases of amputation of the leg or foot, this mobility aid helps the patients before the amputation. You can check out the top selling knee scooters on Amazon below.
In what cases is a knee scooter usage not recommended?
Although a Knee Scooter is very helpful in injuries of leg or foot, its usage is not suggested in some conditions.
Injury to both ankle or feet
The Knee Scooter is designed so that the unaffected side can be used and take over the body weight while your injured or affected side can get a break and recover faster
Challenges related to vision and balance
If the user experiences challenges in balance and coordination or even visibility issues, a knee scooter would not be advisable. One would be required to balance and steer the knee scooter safely.
A knee or hip-related injury
If you have an injury or surgery related to the upper extremity, a knee scooter would not be recommended. This device is used for injury to foot or ankle which forms parts of the lower extremity. However, if the user believes that they would find a knee scooter useful despite a knee or hip-related issue, do ensure to consult with your doctor.
Influence of alcohol or drugs
Alcohol and drugs affect your ability to maintain balance and coordination. Driving a knee scooter under their influence would be highly unsafe and not advisable.
Do Knee Scooters work on all surfaces?
Knee Scooters work mostly on all surfaces – concrete, carpets, hard floors, light dirt, and even light snow. However, you need to select the right model, depending on the surfaces that you might encounter in your daily routine. For surfaces like grass, dirt, or uneven concrete, you might want to opt-in for an all-terrain scooter. Some surfaces will require different efforts from the users owing to friction. Also, be careful while maneuvering from one surface to another. The transition between two surfaces can lead to bumps or sudden increase or decrease of speed.
Things to consider before purchasing a knee scooter
You should discuss your options with your primary care provider before purchasing a knee scooter. They should be able to provide you with information about the size, model, and type of knee scooter.
You should observe what kind of surface or terrain do you encounter regularly. Thinking about whether you walk across grass, mud, snow, or unpaved parking lots will help you select the best kind of knee scooter for you.
In the beginning, it would be difficult to determine the duration for which you would be using the knee scooter. It is a good idea to rent it. If the recovery times seem longer than expected, you can purchase it.
If you intend to carry it to work, you might prefer a foldable model. The model that you select also depends on whether you are using it indoors or outside your home as well.
Is it possible to travel with a knee scooter?
You can travel with a knee scooter. You can carry them with you easily in planes or cars. If you plan to travel, opting for foldable models would be a good idea. The scooters can also be stowed away easily if traveling by taxis, subways, trains, or buses. Airlines treat knee scooters as medical equipment and accommodate them accordingly.
How expensive is a knee scooter?
A knee scooter costs anywhere between $100 to $300. There are more expensive models as well that come with additional capabilities and features. In case, purchasing a knee scooter turns out to be expensive for you, you can also rent it for a short duration. Renting costs in the average range of $25-$50 per week.
Is the purchase or rental of knee scooters covered under insurance?
The coverage of the purchase of knee scooters depends on your insurance provider. Although the category of durable medical equipment (DME) is covered by most of the insurance providers, some insurance providers do not cover knee scooters, despite them being classified as DME.
What are the key steps to consider before I start using a knee scooter?
You should place both your hands on the handlebars and ensure that hand brakes are locked to avoid unexpected movement of the scooter. Once you are stable and balanced, you can unlock the hand brakes. Do not forget to lock the hand brakes again for the scooter to remain stationary. You can now step off the scooter while keeping your hands on the handlebars.
The knee platform should be used to support your affected (injured) leg. Your bodyweight should be supported by the unaffected leg on the ground.
Push yourself forward or backward using your leg on the ground. To stop, use your unaffected leg by applying weight and stop yourself. Do not use the hand brakes to stop yourself.
What precautions should be taken while using a knee scooter?
You should always stay safe and prevent any injury while using a knee scooter. For this, always wear non-slip footwear on your unaffected foot to avoid any slip while using a knee scooter. Never use the walker to pull yourself from a seated position. You may lose balance in the process and injure yourself.
Regularly check the bolts and clamps on your scooter to ensure that they are not loose.
Avoid using the knee scooter near stairs or escalators and do not go over the suggested limitations of weight mentioned for your equipment.
Be careful when moving across different surfaces (say, from carpet to hardwood). Also, when your surface levels are changing (say, from a curb to a ramp), you should be careful to move around these transitions.
You should not take sharp turns as this might lead to a fall. Always use the brakes to control the speed, especially while going downhill.
Are there any disadvantages of using a knee scooter?
Although the Knee Scooters are an effective mobility aid, they still have some disadvantages.
You cannot go up or downstairs on a knee scooter. It is difficult to move across narrow doorways or halls if the front wheelbase is too wide.
Knee scooters take some time to learn how to go straight. Knee scooters can turn out to be unstable if you lean forward or lean back too far or too much to a side.
The article intends to provide you with exhaustive information about Knee Scooters and assists you in deciding about your purchase. Ensure that consult with your medical practitioner to get more information about the kind of Knee Scooter that would be suitable according to your medical condition.