Don’t Accept That Mobility Aids Have To Be Boring
Posted: May 07, 2019
People who use walking aids for long periods of time are turning to ‘pimping’ them in order to make them more personal and less boring. Standard issue models are usually functional in design and grey in colour.
In the UK, we are all familiar with the drab NHS models. They may do the job, but they are grim and depressing in appearance. More people than ever are looking to change things up and create a more exciting look.
Some manufacturers have for some time made coloured versions where the plastic components are available in red or blue. In a few cases a coating to the aluminium shafts gives them a more colourful metallic sheen. All-black models are also available.
But increasingly the idea of bespoke design is catching on. People want to stand out, be individual and proud.
Most people using crutches as part of the everyday lives tend to opt for permanent user models. These have shafts cut down to the exact size required using a hacksaw. They don’t have easy-adjustment features, but the end result is a more solid feeling and make less creaking noises when in use.
Decoration with printed patterns personalizes the shafts. Some choose a repeating design, while others might add stickers of the logo of their favourite football team, for example. Stickers are simple, self-adhesive and widely available, so provide a great option, especially for kids.
For very creative people, they can even be hand painted if the right materials are available.
One novel decoration is to encase the units in a material of your choice. Fabrics like cotton or even leather are great for this purpose.
The Blue Jean Look!
Jeanette has had to use mobility equipment for some years because of a chronic condition affecting her right knee. Fed-up with the standard-issue grey, she decided to jazz things up and make them more interesting.
Jeanette loves jeans. She never takes them off. Blue denim is her trademark. She wears it all the time, on her legs and in the shape of denim jackets and shirts.
So when she found herself using a crutch every day, she thought, what better way to make these my own than covering them in denim?
She had many old pairs of jeans which she was able to cut into pieces, stitch and glue onto the component parts. The result was unique and exactly the look Jeanette wanted. She didn’t just add it to the shafts, but the hand-pads and under-arm components too. It was almost wall-to-wall denim.
Now she feels they are more of a fashion statement. They are an extension of her image, and she receives many admiring comments.
A Novel Use for Tartan
Another example is Joan, whose hip injury left her unable to walk unaided. She too faced the choice of using a wheelchair or crutches on a long-term basis. Not wanting the restrictions which come with a chair, she opted for the latter and has never looked back.
She is Scottish and fiercely proud of her roots. Like many Scots, she has a specific tartan association with her ancestral family. So it was a natural choice to use this as her choice of decoration. Like Jeanette, she covered the entire units with her family tartan. Thus turning them into fashion accessories with real meaning and identity.
An even more extravert decoration is go for the bling look. Covering your walking aids in sparkling diamante is a sure-fire way to turn heads. Because of this, several injured celebrities use walking supports with just this look. They are a great way of being creative, getting noticed and creating a talking point.
Another benefit is that in a small way, the dowdy image of crutches gradually reduces when these glamorous versions appear in the press.
Taking it to the final degree is Joe, a 90s raver who has never lost the dance-music bug. He turned his mobility equipment into a work project, fixing LED lighting to every component. This made them luminescent in the dark and almost into a work of art.
Derry has been working in the mobility aids industry since 2003, acquiring a wealth of knowledge along the way. Before Essential Aids, Derry's background was in engineering. In his spare time he is a devotee of yoga and rare reggae vinyl.