J Am Acad Orthop Surg, Vol 18, No 1, January 2010
Safi R. Faruqui, DO and Todd Jaeblon, DO Ambulatory assistive devices (eg, canes, crutches, walkers) provide advantages such as stability, augmentation of muscle action, and reduction of weight-bearing load. Although they are often prescribed, a detailed understanding of these devices is often lacking, which can lead to detrimental consequences. Comprehension of normal gait cadence, as well as the gait patterns used in both reciprocating and swinging gait, allows the orthopaedic surgeon to understand the limitations of the patient with gait abnormalities. Appreciating the types of assistive devices, their modifications, associated gait patterns, physiologic demand, proper fitting, and indications for use is essential in prescribing the proper device.