Assistive Devices

These are a few quick quizzes to supplement the reading from your textbook.

What are the assistive devices?

Description of various assistive devices

Walkers are a waist high device with a metallic frame that is closed on 3 sides and open on the fourth.  It has a wide base with or without wheels and handgrips at the top.

Canes are a metal or wood device that provides an extra point of support.  These can be a single straight legged cane or a quad cane, which provides more stability.  

Crutches are a wooden or metal device that provides more points of support for the body.  They can be forearm or axillary crutches.  

Drag the title of the assistive device and drop it onto the correct picture.

  • Four legged walker
  • Quad cane
  • Single leg cane
  • Rolling walker
  • Axillary crutches


Measuring devices for appropriate use

Measuring walkers

  • Have patient relax arms at the side of the body and stand up straight
  • The top of the walker should be at the level of the wrist
  • Make sure elbows are flexed at 15-30 degrees when hands are on the handgrips and patient is standing inside the walker

Measuring canes

  • A cane should be the length of a person's leg from the greater trochanter to the floor.

Measuring axillary crutches

  • Measure the patient's height and set the crutches to that height 
  • The axillary pads should be 2-3 finger widths from the axilla (approx 2 inches)
  • The handgrips should be positioned so that the axilla is not supporting the weight and the elbows are flexed at 20-25 degrees

Select all the answers below that are correct in regard to measuring for assistive devices

  • Crutches should be 2 inches from the axilla
  • Canes should be at the level of the wrist when the patient is standing straight
  • Elbows should be flexed at 15-30 degrees when hands are gripping the walker
  • Elbows should be flexed at 20-25 degrees when hands are gripping axillary crutches

Teaching patients to use devices

Review the steps to teaching patients to use assistive devices


  • A patient should stand inside the frame of the walker holding the handgrips with both hands.  The walker should be moved forward a few inches and then the patient steps back into the frame.  Repeat the process to practice.


  • A cane is placed on the strong side of the body.
  • The cane should be placed 6-10 inches (15-25 cm) forward with weight on both legs.  The weaker leg is moved forward toward the cane.
  • The stronger leg is then advanced past the weak leg while the cane is aiding the weak leg with body support.

Axillary crutches

  • The gait is determined by the amount of weight the patient is permitted to place on the affected leg.
  • Basic stance is a tripod where crutches are 6 inches ahead and 6 inches to each side of the feet.  Remember that axillae should not bear any weight.
  • 4 point gait is based on ability to bear weight on both legs.  Legs are moved in sync with the opposite crutch with 3 points of support on the floor at all times 
  • 3 point gait is based on the ability to bear all weight on one leg.  This is the gait most commonly thought of with crutch walking.  The injured limb never touches the floor.  Both crutches are moved forward and then the unaffected limb swings through to plant just in front of the crutches.
  • 2 point gait means the patient can bear weight on both legs.  Crutches move at the same time the opposite leg is moved to simulate arm movements during walking.


  • For going up the stairs move the unaffected leg  up and then the crutches
  • For going down stairs move the crutches down and then the unaffected leg.

Sitting in chairs and standing  up again

  • Sitting - hold crutches on unaffected or stronger side.  Grasp the arm of the chair with the arm on the affected or weak side and sit down.  Reverse the process for standing up

Teach a peer to do these things during skill lab on 6/22