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One-armed Walking

After her left arm was amputated, Verlie found it difficult to use her walking frame with only one arm. The walker also turned in circles when she used the right brake without the left.

After her left arm was amputated, Verlie found it difficult to use her walking frame with only one arm. The walker also turned in circles when she used the right brake without the left.

When Verlie asked TAD for assistance, CDA engineers Keith Olds and Nick Asha suggested an ingenious system involving a cross-mounted squeeze bar which would lock both brakes together, but still allow the walker to be folded and Verlie to use the seat. It was a fairly complicated job and presented a challenge for volunteer Ingram Paterson.

Ingram come up with a simpler solution, which involved taking the left hand brake off the left handle and re-mounting it next to the right one. He then clamped the left brake onto the right brake grip, using two split clamps as spacers to ensure that the two brake handles were fixed close together.

Luckily, the cable on the left brake was just the right length to reach across the walker to the left side of the wheel. Verlie is thus able to operate both brakes in tandem with her right hand.

After he solved the brake problem, Ingram turned to the difficulty Verlie was having with steering the walker. He decided that the best solution was to make a new handle at the right front, which would be easier for Verlie to use with her right hand.

To do this, he used a piece of T-shaped tubing from an old exercise machine, which was exactly the same diameter as the walker tubing. The T-grip arm rotates inside the left hand brake hole, thus also supporting the left hand brake.

The new handle has a pad bolt which enables it to be locked in the ‘up’ and horizontal positions to alter the gripping action. It can be locked in the ‘down’, or vertical, position to allow Verlie to sit on the seat.

A final little luxury for Verlie was a plastic cup holder from a car, which Ingram found among his bits and pieces. He clamped this onto the right side of the walker so Verlie can sit down, flip it up and enjoy a glass of water.

A bonus for Verlie is that her walker was not altered mechanically in any way and it can easily be restored to its original condition if she is no longer able to use it.

 

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TAD acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia and recognises their continuing connection to land, waters and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures and to elders past, present and emerging.