The Goodbye Crutches Blog

5 Biggest Problems with Knee Walkers

Posted by Tom Schwab


A leg or foot injury can really slow you down, but that’s not the only problem you’ll face. Crutches, while difficult to use quickly and efficiently, also cause serious pain in your upper body. Your shoulders, wrists, underarms, and even lower back will all suffer after just a short time on crutches. Fortunately, you have other options.

You may be aware of knee scooters, even if you heard a different name. Some call them leg caddies, knee walkers, or roll-abouts. Whatever the name, it’s synonymous with relief. Rolling on a knee scooter is so much easier than using crutches, and the possibilities for keeping your life moving can be exciting. Just remember: Nothing is perfect. While you’ll certainly have the ability to stay more active, you’ll also run into a few snags.

Does Insurance Cover the Knee Walker?

Your first hurdle will be the cost, as it is with any treatment after an injury. Rarely does insurance cover 100% of your recovery, and knee walkers are no exception. You should also be aware that Medicare and Medicaid don’t cover knee scooters under HCPCs Code E0118. Private insurance, however, might just cover the cost. Click here to learn how to find out if your insurance covers your knee scooter.

Is the Knee Scooter Safe and Stable?

You can count on the knee scooter for a safe recovery, as long as you don’t purchase or rent one of the cheaper units. Your safety is important to us. A fall could re-injure your leg and require a longer recovery period, so don’t cut corners when choosing your equipment. The right knee walker will allow you to adjust for right- or left-leg injuries, which severely limits the stability. This universal design sacrifices your safety in the name of saving money.
If, however, you invest in your healing by purchasing or renting a safe model, your safety will never be at risk. How much is a quick, relatively painless healing period worth to you?

How Comfortable Is the Roll-About?

If you’re not comfortable in a kneeling position for long periods of time, no knee scooter will meet your needs. If you can handle the position needed to operate the scooter, you’ll still have other concerns to keep in mind. Again, quality promises greater comfort, and many roll-about manufacturers will sacrifice that comfort in the name of saving money. Higher-quality units feature thick, contoured, dual-adjustable padding to protect your joints, muscles, and bones.
If you opt for the less expensive models, a thin, one-piece bench-style pad will not offer the same support.

Does a Knee Scooter Have Brakes?

Trusting your healing to equipment on wheels can be a little nerve-racking. Knowing you have the ability to stop with ease and stay at rest without your knee scooter rolling away can bring a lot of peace of mind. Before you order a scooter, make sure the brakes are of the highest quality. The types of brakes vary according to cost, so you could end up with a scooter that rolls away without you if you’re not careful.
The cheapest units have a simple bag that contacts the tread of the tires. These types are easily overcome with the slightest force. Bicycle-style brakes are another option. These are much better, as the work just like a bike brake does, with a pinch to the wheel from the side. Your high-end options are drum or disc brakes, which work like the brakes of a car for smooth stopping and a steady hold.
A parking brake is also necessary to stay at rest. You don’t want your scooter to roll around while you’re trying to do everyday things like brushing your teeth or washing the dishes. Even more importantly, that scooter should hold still while you’re stopped at crosswalks or in other high-traffic areas. If you choose the right knee scooter, this will never be a problem.

What Is the Turning Radius on a Knee Scooter?

Maneuverability is a huge concern when choosing a knee scooter. You want the ability to move around corners without sacrificing the stability of your scooter. Keep in mind that no scooter will work well in small spaces, and that includes urban apartments with low square footage. If you have a lot of furniture in your home, you may find moving around everything difficult. If you’re patient, you can use 3-point turns to access most areas and navigate around the tightest corners. A better quality scooter may just provide better turning abilities, so don’t be afraid to test a few models before you commit.

As you can see, most problems with knee scooters can be overcome simply by choosing the best possible models. Because better scooters can also be more expensive, renting the equipment for the duration of your recovery might be your best option.

What other problems can you foresee occurring with a knee scooter? Leave us a comment and we’ll do our best to solve your pressing issues.

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Topics: Knee Walker

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