If you’ve broken a bone in your leg or foot – or you’ve got chronic leg injuries, crutches are the first option people look at to get around.
But are they the best choice?
If you’re looking for alternatives to crutches, we’ve reviewed 5 products that are worth considering.
We recommend the iWalk3.0 for individuals with lower leg injuries who want to be as mobile as possible. It can be used on either leg, has an ergonomic knee platform, and a non-slip rubber foot for safety.
We have also looked at scooters if this type of crutch doesn’t work for you.
Let’s have a look at the various types of crutch alternatives available.
Top 3 Best and Favorite
The iWalk3.0 may look like a strange contraption, but the hands-free design serves the same purpose as a crutch without placing any strain on the upper body.
It’s an ideal solution for individuals who have injured their lower leg but can still put weight on the upper leg.
Not only will you have your hands free to do everyday tasks, but the device is easy to use and can be adjusted to fit anybody. Assembly doesn’t require any tools and is quick so you can be using it very shortly after unpacking it.
Fabric straps with easy-to-adjust buckles make it easy to tighten around your leg. Just note that individuals with a thigh circumference of more than 27 inches may find that it doesn’t fit.
The straps have padding so that they don’t chafe. There are also quick-release buckles, so there’s no need to fight with straps when removing the device.
The upper and lower leg heights can be independently adjusted to fit almost any sized leg. It can also easily fit on both the right and left legs.
An ergonomic knee platform has a dual-density foam pad to protect the knee from jarring and discomfort. A non-slip Vibram rubber foot keeps you stable on slippery surfaces and can be replaced if it wears out.
As a general rule, if you can climb up and down stairs without needing to hold the handrail then you’ll have the strength required to use this device safely.
If not, one of the other alternatives on this list may be a better choice. You may need to practice walking with this device until you feel stable enough to walk comfortably.
- Can be used on the right or left leg
- Ergonomic knee platform
- Adjustable straps
- Non-slip, Vibram rubber foot
- The device won’t fit around thighs larger than 27 inches in circumference
Top Seated Scooter
2. KneeRover Evolution Steerable Seated Scooter
The KneeRover is a good solution for those who are unable to bend their leg or put weight on it.
It’s comfortable enough to be seated on for a good period of time, thanks to the gel-padded seat. It can support a weight of up to 300 pounds.
The height of the seat and handlebar can be adjusted to get them to the most comfortable height for each person. There is no way to adjust the foot rests, so you’ll need to adjust the seat based on your feet resting on the platforms.
The leg platforms are cushioned and feel comfortable when resting your feet on them. It’s double-sided, so you can use this scooter no matter which leg is injured. You will need one leg free to push yourself.
For safety and durability, the scooter is made from metal and reinforced with a secondary bar. It also features a handbrake and a rear disc brake system to stop easily.
This scooter also folds to make it easier to transport. A removable basket helps carry things while using this scooter.
The device will need to be assembled and this can be a little complicated as the instructions are not very clear.
- Gel-padded seat
- Adjustable seat and handlebar height
- Easily folds
- Removable basket
- Assembly may be slightly difficult
Best Ergonomic Crutches
3. Ergoactives 7G Ergobaum
If you find crutches to be an easy solution but find that they hurt your arms and elbows, these ergonomic crutches could be the answer.
The handles are made of soft rubber in an anatomical, ergonomic design to reduce fatigue on the hands and arms. Padded forearm cuffs take pressure off the arms, wrists, and hands and prevent chafing. You can strap your forearms into the device so that you can use your hands without fully letting go of the crutches.
The system is adjustable for various heights. It can also support up to 350 pounds. The crutches are made of anodized aluminum, which keeps them lightweight but still durable.
A built-in flip-down knee rest means you have the option to use these if an injured leg can’t bear weight on the lower leg.
The bottom tip of the crutch has a built-in shock-absorbing system to prevent jarring and increase the comfort of these crutches. They can also be used on a number of different terrains and can be replaced if necessary.
For extra safety, while using these crutches, there’s a built-in panic button with a horn, noise reflectors, and an LED flashlight.
The device is also foldable for convenient and easy transportation.
- Knee-rest device
- Built-in LED flashlight
- Padded cuff
- Ergonomic, soft rubber handles
- It may take some experimenting to get the handles to the right angles and length for you
Top Kneeling Scooter
4. KneeRover All Terrain Steerable Knee Scooter
If you don’t like the idea of sitting on a scooter, this one is a little different.
Simply rest your knee of the injured leg on the knee pad. There is a comfortable 3-inch cushion to absorb shock. It’s easy to adjust the height to suit you.
The heavy-duty frame can support up to 350 pounds and the 12-inch pneumatic tires can take you safely over a number of different terrains while providing shock absorption.
The tricycle design adds inherent stability to the scooter while KneeRover Stabilizer adds an extra small wheel if the scooter feels unstable.
A locking hand brake and easy-steer column gives you complete control over your movement. When you need to move away from the scooter, there’s a push-button parking brake to make sure it stays safely in one place.
You can easily remove the front axle on this device to store it away when not in use or fit it into a trunk for easy transportation.
The manufacturer has recommended this scooter for individuals between 5 foot 6 inches and 6 foot 5 inches in height. Individuals who are shorter than this may find that the scooter is uncomfortable or difficult to use.
- 12-inch pneumatic tires
- Can support body weight up to 350 pounds
- Adjustable locking hand brake
- KneeRover Stabilizer
- Only recommended for individuals between 5’6” and 6’5”
Best Forearm Crutches
5. Mobility Designed The M+D Crutch
If your hands and wrists can’t deal with the pressure of regular crutches, then these forearm crutches could be the right thing for you.
They are designed to distribute pressure evenly across the forearms, reducing arm strain and allowing you to wear them for longer periods of time.
The arm cradle is hinged, so you can lift your arm to perform a number of tasks without needing to unstrap from the crutch completely. The hand grips can be rotated so that they’re out of the way to allow for the use of the hands while still receiving support from the crutch.
An antimicrobial arm pad provides comfort and allows you to wear these crutches for long periods of time. The armbands are flexible and easy to adjust as they conform to your arm shape and size.
A uniquely flexible rubber bottom offers excellent shock absorption and traction on any surface.
Some may find that these crutches feel quite heavy, as they weigh 2.9 pounds each. You’ll need good upper body strength to be able to use these effectively.
Both the arm height and length can be adjusted and they can comfortably accommodate individuals between 4 foot 11 inches and 6 foot 8 inches.
- Hinged arm cradle
- Rotating hand grips
- Antimicrobial arm pad
- Adjustable in both arm length and height
- Some may feel that they are slightly heavy, at 2.9 pounds each
What Are The Pros/Cons of Crutches?
When it comes to using crutches to assist you with mobility, there are both advantages and disadvantages.
Using crutches allows you to move safely without having to place weight on the injured foot, and your weight is evenly distributed on each crutch. If you have enough upper body strength, then you’ll find them easy to use.
You’re able to control how fast you walk with crutches once you’ve gotten used to them, and you’ll find it easy to pick up the pace when necessary.
Crutches are designed with a slight slope from the elbow that allows for a more comfortable feel for your hands and wrists. This helps reduce pain and fatigue in the hands and wrists, so you can move easily through your day-to-day activities.
One of the biggest complaints when it comes to using crutches is the discomfort that comes from prolonged use, especially if they’re positioned underneath the arm.
This can lead to pain or irritation underneath the arm or the hands and wrists, as it takes more energy to move with crutches.
Often, you have to spread your arms out to accommodate for the crutch and this can make walking through doorways a bit of a challenge.
But it also becomes a challenge when you have to balance and keep the crutches in place when trying to open doors or reach for something.
It can be frustrating when you need to try and carry something while using your crutches, which can leave you feeling unstable and like they’re going to fall. Going up or down stairs can be a daunting task, as you may feel off balance.
If you don’t have great upper body strength, then you may find it difficult to move around or find that your arms and hands fatigue very quickly.
Why is an Alternative Crutch Convenient?
Using crutches can lead to pain in the hands, wrists, forearm, and underarm when you need to use them for a lengthy time.
This can leave you feeling bruised, with stiff muscles just after a few weeks of use.
Need to Carry Things
Knee walkers or knee scooters are convenient, as they have a basket attached to the front. This allows you to put any extra gear that you need in the basket, leaving your hands free for other things.
It’s also easier to open doors or reach for things, as you’re not trying to keep the crutches in place while balancing yourself to grab something. This can increase the risk of losing your balance and falling.
Unlike crutches, knee walkers or knee scooters let you move easily while keeping the injured leg elevated. This can help reduce the swelling while you maintain your mobility.
A Few Words of Caution When Using Crutch Alternatives
While there are many benefits to using alternatives to crutches, there are few things to keep in mind when looking at the alternatives.
You can strain your good leg if you’re not careful, especially if you’re going to be on the move for a few hours.
If you’re using a knee scooter, you’ll likely be resting your injured leg on the leg platform, which means that most of the movement will only be generated by your good leg.
Knee scooters aren’t designed to go up or down stairs, and this can limit a person to where they can use them.
While knee scooters aren’t bulky, you’ll need to have some space to move around in, especially if you need to turn around. The wheels can sometimes make it difficult to get in and out of small spaces at times.
Benefits of Knee Walkers
Knee walkers allow people who have lower leg injuries freedom of movement, while providing support for the injured leg. By supporting and keeping the leg elevated, it reduces the chance of placing weight on the leg and possibly re-injuring it.
The knee walker helps provide stability and this makes it a great alternative for people who are recovering from a foot injury, sprains, surgery, or breaks, where you can’t place weight on the leg.
Knee walkers are a safe and comfortable alternative option that you can easily steer for increased maneuverability.