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How Do Mobility Aids Contribute to Falls?

Conventional mobility aids are very often the direct cause of a senior fall. According to the CDC, more than 175 emergency room visits every day are associated with these crude devices. Clinical studies have long demonstrated the negative effects of mobility aids on short and long-term user safety. What are some of the problems?

  • Physical loads - repetitive strains on fragile anatomy such as hands, wrists, elbows

  • Cognitive loads - excessive attention demands for navigation, propulsion and braking

  • Balance disruptions - base of support is an unnatural distance from center of mass

  • Lost automaticity - difficulty walking without conscious executive control for each step

  • Metabolic loads - elevated pulse, slower walk speed, increased oxygen consumption

Click here to read a representative study:

Bateni H, Maki BE. Assistive devices for balance and mobility: benefits, demands, and adverse consequences. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2005 Jan;86(1):134-45. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2004.04.023. PMID: 15641004.

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