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Does anyone here use leg braces and crutches instead of a wheelchair?

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    Wow Arndog...what an inspiration you are. I would to be able to hike like that with my family. Guess I should give it a try


      Hi Everybody
      Wheelchairs and Crutches go hand and hand to me
      As we can see everyone has their own regimine

      I am a major workaholic and I really push things to the limit considering my upper neck SCI injury ... I broke my neck 2 times .

      Oddly Since I was 16 I had the same old pair of wooden crutches I use them most everyday ...

      I have tried those forearm crutches but it aint my style .

      Thank goodness for lightweight wheelchairs


        I lost the use of my legs eight years ago when I was twelve following a motor vehicle accident. When I left hospital I was confident in the operating of my wheelchair, a Quickie lightweight and envisaged it being my only means of mobility given my situation. Cutting a long story short, my parents had never allowed me to dwell on my misfortune and had always been practical when problems arose. Since I wanted to remain in mainstream education at a school not well suited to the using of wheelchairs, they asked whether I would wear supports on my legs (if such were available to me) and try to function with crutches. Hospital referals and opinions followed until I was seen by an orthotist who believed that it was worth a try since I was keen to stand and manage without spending my life on wheels.
        Just after my thirteenth birthday I was introduced to my first set of HKAFO's or calipers as they are known in the UK. These fitted from a belt around my waist down to my ankles with automatic locking knee and hip joints. They had leather bands and buckles at my ankle, calf, knee and thigh with a padded metal ring at the crotch and steel bars either side of my legs which slotted into my shoes. Basically I was wearing polio style leg irons but if they worked then the appearance was secondary. After much effort on the parrallel bars in outpatients and practice at home, I was able to propel myself from A to B and eventually cope in school.
        My verdict is that I prefer to be on my crutches than sitting in the wheelchair. In seven years of wearing calipers every day i have become very capable and largely independent. Although I cannot walk, I can swing myself along from my waist in a single movement and get myself about. Calipers/braces are not very common now and mine are very obvious with a short skirt or over leggings so maybe a wheelchair looks neater but hey, I'm extrovert and only 20 years old so people can give me strange looks if they wish. In the summer, on holiday I wear bikinis and at the local swimming pool. I am paralysed but still feel liberated so if I can manage without the wheelchair so can others. Just overcome the self consciousness!


          As a T11/12 former walker (KAFO's & Crutches) I agree with Curvy Satos on the damage it can do to your body. Walking with crutches and braces took so much energy, it's not really functional either, you can't carry anything, Much more functional using chair only.

          Maintaining the ability to walk for therapy & those ocasions where you do need to walk is fine (stairs no elevator) but as far as being on crutches & braces all days as you carry out the days activities in my opinion not really worth the energy expenditure. Of course the decision is up to you.


            There was a few periods in my chaotic life where I definitely was doing my business from bed and a chair quite satisfactorily so this goes out to 4 of my closest friends my recovery buddies .
            Each of us have and had high hopes of getting back to our old normal ways .

            Although Self Conciousness esteem is top priority We must take into consideration that each of us has his/ or / Her own medical stipulations ...

            1) Technically I mean that there is some of us who are High % wise wheel chair dependent .

            I fell in the above category because of alot of internal injuries

            2) And there is those who are able to stand up / possibly walk of do other things

            The key factor here is ( Situations )

            It is not for the most part that some of us do not get out of our wheelchairs , beds and other medical apparatus because We are lazy

            All the Confidence sometimes doesnt make our bodies agree with our minds .
            Standing / walking is a marvelous ability .

            I just wish everyone the best in their endeavors


              Was on my way with crutches and had a back injury just above where I was parad. It's painfull to lay down for the first 5to 10 min, then it eases up, same thing standing, if i get distorted it's severe pain and I go down, dam, it would be nice to be upright again, 4'3" is a far cry from 6"2".


                fore-arm crutches for town, travel. wheelchair for work, home & cooking. My one leg is allot longer & has sever tone & the foot does not work at all & it's proprioception is limited to pain, but i can get through an entire airport with crutches & a KAFO on one side. not pretty, but hey........
                Steve Garro.


                  I am a spinal cord injury T11 complete injury, injured in Feb 18th 1977---35 years.
                  I use long leg braces that I received from Craig Spinal Cord Hospital in Denver Colorado.
                  I use forearm crutches with the braces.
                  I have used these braces for 34 years and I hope I go to my grave wearing the braces.
                  It is a very good workout and a nice option to give your butt a weight shift.
                  Now please understand, it was difficult at first to "find my balance point" but now it is much easier. I lock my knees in the braces and stand up either with crutches or holding onto something- car, furniture, or any other stable fixture.
                  I have bail locks on the braces, but I cut them off of the back of braces. The bail locks took up too much room inside my pants.
                  The braces do tear holes in my jeans, so I buy cheap jeans at Sams Club--about $14.00....
                  It is impossible to use braces 100 per cent of the time for me and my injury level. But it is quite a blessing to stand up and rest my butt or pull up my pants while dressing.
                  I was 24 years old when I was injured and I will be 60 years old this summer.
                  Wearing my braces is just part of me.. I put the braces on in the morning and take them off when I get ready to go to bed.
                  Craig Scott braces are what really work for me...


                    I have peripheral neuropathy so I still leg thighs are quite strong. I use both a light weight Quickie II wheelchair and forearm crutches with AFO braces. I prefer the chair over the crutches



                      I used to gait daily back in the 80's, sometimes exclusively and didn't have a chair with me. It's not practical, though it has standing and exercise benefits. If it were my money I'd rather have a stander and a handcycle.


                        I am L1 complete with some hip flexors and weaker hip extensors. I have been learning over the past 4 months how to get around with an RGO - there are some videos on my blog . I can repeatedly get around with a walker although it is a lot more effort than using a wheelchair.
                        I am learning to get around with forearm crutches although they are more effort and I feel less stable than a walker currently. The main issue in using hand crutches is that I still cannot reliably get to a standing position (remember I need to stand with my knees locked).
                        I have fallen twice when I went into the real world with a walker - in both cases a thin rug curled up and "tripped" the back of the walker causing me to fall forward.
                        I have recently started using my braces at work with a walker.
                        It is still unclear how often I can use the braces - for ma the biggest barrier is the massive back brace that makes up part of the RGO and makes it difficult to wear the braces at all times - If I could wear the braces at most times and carry forearm crutches in my chair I believe I would use them a lot more