Knee scooters are becoming a growingly, popular tool to enhance adults’ mobility after injury, surgery, or illness. There are a wide array of brands, styles, and colors available but knee scooters all share a common structure: wheels, handlebars, and a resting bench for the injured leg.
Here are a few common questions that arise regarding the use of knee scooters followed up with some detailed answers:
What kind of diagnoses or medical conditions would justify the use of a knee scooter?
First, think about the position in which one leg would sit on a scooter. You would stand on one leg and plant the affected leg on the bench by situating the knee on the bench so that the knee is bent comfortably at 90 degrees.
A knee scooter can be a useful mobility device for someone who has a lower leg injury (ankle, tibia, fibula, foot) or post-surgical condition. Some doctors will recommend the use of a knee scooter to someone who has a lower leg injury prior to a scheduled surgery in order to reduce pain with walking.
Why would I pick a knee scooter over other mobility equipment such as walkers, canes, wheelchairs, or crutches?
Think about mobility equipment in a sequence of assist levels: wheelchair (total assist in walking), walker (some assist), knee scooter (some assist), and cane (very little assist). Someone may pick a knee scooter over a walker for practicality and safety reasons.
If a patient has difficulty bearing weight through both arms, then using a walker or crutches to support themselves on one foot could be a problem. Knee scooters allow a user to put full weight through the femur (thigh bone) and knee on the affected foot so that they aren’t planting all of their weight through their arms on the handlebar.
Anatomy of a Knee Scooter
How can I safely use a knee scooter?
Using a knee scooter safely means taking into consideration the mechanics of your own body, the knee scooter itself, and the environment around you. If you are new to using a knee scooter, consult with a doctor or with a physical therapist about safely using it and maintaining your unique weight-bearing precautions (if any).
Avoid driving the scooter over rough (sketchy outdoor surfaces) terrain, plush material (shaggy carpets and rugs), or unleveled flooring (higher than normal thresholds, curbs, and steps). Make sure that the scooter is adjusted for your height and weight.
There are some knee scooters that have a limited weight capacity (less than 250 lbs). Make sure that you are fitted for a scooter that is appropriate for your body type.
How much weight am I allowed to place on a knee scooter?
Using a knee scooter allows a person to place full body weight through the femur and knee of the affected limb that is situated on the bench.
Why would a knee scooter be inappropriate for someone to use?
A knee scooter is not for everyone. Please do not use one if your injuries or surgical operations include hips, the femur, or the knee. Do not use a scooter if you have very poor balance to begin with, especially on your one non-injured leg.
Knee scooters can be very unsafe for persons with decreased cognition such as individuals with dementia or traumatic brain injury. Since the bench requires full weight through the knee, shin, and top of the foot do not use a knee scooter if you have decubitis ulcers, un-healing wounds of any kinds, or are at high risk for skin break down in those areas.
Consult with your doctor to make sure that you will not compromise blood circulation by using a knee scooter. Additionally, if the user experiences any intense pain or discomfort while using the knee scooter, then consider a different mobility option.
Are knee scooters travel-friendly?
Yes, knee scooters are very travel-friendly. Some knee scooter models are foldable and can be easily stored in the trunk of a car. Most public transportation options in the U.S. can fit you and the knee scooter on board.
Knee scooters can also be brought on planes, and potential hassles can be remedied if a user calls the airlines ahead of time to make accommodations.
Will my insurance pay for a knee scooter?
In the United States, most insurances including Medicare will not cover the cost of a knee scooter because the equipment is considered a luxury item rather than a medically necessary item.
Even if your doctor prescribes you a knee scooter, be aware that you are most likely on your own to cover the cost.
As mentioned previously, knee scooters come in wide varieties and are easily available for purchase and for rent in-store and online. Consult with a medical professional prior to buying a knee scooter to see if it’s the right choice for you.
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