A knee scooter or knee walker is a two, three or four-wheeled alternative to crutches or a traditional walker as an ambulation aid. It is known by many other names, such as a knee walker, knee coaster, knee cruiser, knee caddy, orthopaedic scooter, or leg walker.
Over the years it has taken on many forms, from small-wheeled devices suitable for indoor use to larger sturdier units capable of use outside on grass or paved surfaces. Today’s version is usually a lightweight, foldable design that, with the knee flexed, supports the shin of the unusable limb. The opposite foot makes contact with the floor or ground, providing propulsion.
The objective of the scooter is to create a safe, comfortable, and easy-to-maneuver alternative to the traditional crutch. Prior to its introduction, those experiencing foot surgery, bunionectomies, gout, below the knee amputations, diabetic ulcers and wounds, as well as foot sprains, or fractures had no choice but to limit activity during rehabilitation. Their only options were crutches, a traditional walker, a wheelchair or bed rest.
The scooter does have limitations that may make it unsuitable for some patients, such as those with leg injuries above or near the knee. It cannot negotiate stairs, and is significantly heavier and more difficult to load into a vehicle than crutches.
As knee scooters are often used while the user recovers after surgery, knee scooters are often rented for a short period of time, usually about 4 weeks. While a Medicare E0118 code may have been present in the past for dealers to provide this to patients/beneficiaries, as changes are made to funding, many dealers have the option of renting these products directly for the short use period. Often due to the complexities and costs, many also choose from purchasing this product as a form of cost saving options.
- The Orthopaedic Scooter: An Energy-Saving Aid for Assisted Ambulation (PDF file). jbjs.org.uk