Individually adapted lightweight walking aids with moulded handles for patients with severely deforming chronic arthritis

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Abstract

Patients with severely deforming rheumatoid arthritis and impaired function of the upper extremity are often unable to use conventional walking aids. This report describes 42 such patients who were equipped with altogether 75 individually manufactured, lightweight walking aids (12 crutches, 12 forearm-crutches, 39 crutch-sticks and 12 sticks). A plaster cast of the patient's grip as well as analysis of the integrated function of the shoulder-elbow-wrist was used when preparing the walking aid. It was thereby possible to produce suitable walking aids for all but one patient. At follow-up after 12-18 months, of use, most patients belonging to functional classes II and III were satisfied with their walking aid(s) and 22 considered it/them indispensable. However, in 4 patients, progressive disease with increased disease activity/deteriorating hand function and in 3 patients increasing shoulder pain reduced their usability. Lack of motivation was one reason for low use intensity. Follow-up demonstrated that most patients were able to use these walking aids without detectable negative effects on the upper extremity. The durability of the walking aid was satisfactory. Thus an individually moulded handle on an adapted lightweight walking aid is important helping patients with severely deforming arthritis to maintain independent ambulation, and should be made more widely obtainable.

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Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Rheumatology and Autoimmunity
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-173
JournalScandinavian Journal of Rheumatology
Volume17
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1988
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes