Wheelchair, Crutches, or Knee Scooter: What’s Best for Injury Recovery?

by Medical XPress

Woman using crutches near wheelchairWhen you injure your leg and are in a cast or boot for an extended period of time, it’s important that you keep your weight off of the injured limb as much as possible. Obviously, this means using some sort of mobility aid. But there are many different mobility aid options out there, including wheelchairs, crutches, and knee scooters. So how do you know which one is best for your recovery? Here’s a quick comparison of these different mobility aids so you can make a more informed decision; however, it’s always best to consult with your doctor when it comes to your recovery.


Crutches have been around since the time of the Ancient Egyptians, and their structure hasn’t changed much since then. Of course, improvements have been made to make them adjustable, more comfortable, and so on, but their basic form and function has been the same for thousands of years.

They’re a pretty basic mobility aid, and they’ll get the job done. They’re also small and light, which makes them a lot easier to transport, especially if you don’t have a large vehicle. It’s also easier to navigate narrow hallways and small spaces like bathrooms, and you can even use them on the stairs. Plus, it works out your upper body and your uninjured leg to help keep you fit during your recovery. They’re also the cheapest option here.

But crutches have many drawbacks as well. It does require quite a bit of upper body strength from the beginning, especially if you need to move around quite a bit. Without that strength, you’re at higher risk of falling and further injuring yourself. They’re also not as stable as the other two options, especially if the surface is slippery, and they obviously make it quite difficult to carry anything with you unless you’re using a backpack. The final con is that, even with a proper fit, crutches can cause pain in your hands, arms, and shoulders.

Ultimately, crutches are a good option for those who have decent upper body strength, or who don’t need to get around too frequently. They’re also beneficial for those who can partially bear weight on their injured lip, those who need to navigate small spaces, or those who must use the stairs. If you’re going to use crutches, please make sure that they’re properly adjusted to your height to reduce arm pain and improve stability.


Though not as old as crutches, wheelchairs are another mobility aid that has had a similar design since its invention in 1783. They allow you to carry things with you either on your lap or on a tray and are a much more comfortable option when compared to crutches. They also offer the most stability of the three options in this article, as they require no balancing effort. You can also use your wheelchair as a seat at your desk or dining table, so you don’t have to worry about transferring to a seated position.

The main drawback of using a wheelchair is its size. While many models can be folded up for easier transport, this typically means you’ll need to have someone with you any time you want to get in and out of a vehicle. They’re also difficult to navigate through smaller spaces and, obviously, can’t be used on the stairs. While they do work your upper body, they don’t offer any exercise to your uninjured leg, which means that both legs will be weaker when you start walking again.

Wheelchairs are a good choice for those who have balancing issues or poor upper body strength and cannot bear any weight on their injured leg. They also may be a better option for those with a prolonged need for a mobility aid, as opposed to a recovery of a few weeks or months.

Knee Scooters

Knee scooters or knee walkers are more modern invention in the world of mobility aids and have quickly gained in popularity. In a way, they have the best that both crutches and wheelchairs offer. They have the easier portability that crutches offer while providing more stability like a wheelchair. While you can’t put items on your lap, knee scooters can be equipped with a basket to more easily carry items with you. And, because they keep you in a more upright position, knee scooters make it possible to do things that you would normally do in a standing position—like washing your hands or cooking at a counter—while still using your mobility aid. They also keep that uninjured leg working so that it doesn’t become weaker during your recovery.

Of course, there are still some drawbacks to this mobility aid. Like a wheelchair, it can’t be used on stairs, and even though it’s smaller than the wheelchair, it can still be difficult to transport it, especially as most models don’t fold. Additionally, the knee scooter isn’t an option if your knee is what’s been injured. And finally, it’s the most expensive mobility aid option here, so it’s important to consider the benefits alongside the higher price tag.

A knee scooter is a good option for those who need to have optimal mobility and want to keep their uninjured leg exercised. But it’s not for anyone who’s injured their knee or whose injury is otherwise agitated by being in a kneeling position.

If you’re unsure which mobility aid is best for you, be sure to consult with your doctor. Then, talk to one of our associates to help you decide which of these options will best help with your recovery. Call or stop by one of our many locations today!