For those who are unable to weight bear, standing support can be provided, so that they can achieve a standing position, which will help to strengthen muscles and joints
We often say, quite casually, “use it or lose it” – and this is certainly true of our muscles and joints. Muscles start to lose tone if they are unused for as little as 24 hours.
Knees that remain bent will eventually lose the ability to straighten at all: initially, the joint becomes stiff, then the body adapts to the situation by shortening the muscles (referred to as “contracture”), and eventually the shape of the knee joint changes so that it is completely unable to straighten.
Equally, hip joints become strong and stable partly as a result of the pressure put on them by standing and walking.
These are just some of the advantages of standing up. Others include improvements in blood circulation and digestion, and the psychological benefit of being at the same eye-level as other people.
Clearly, there is a great deal to be said for postural supports that enable those who are unable to stand unaided to achieve an upright position.
The highly adjustable unit shown here includes supports for both back and chest, as well as knees and heels, the latter on the nonslip standing plate that contributes to maximum stability. There is an integral work surface, enabling it to be used for a range of activities.
Dynamic walking aids provide a combination of support in an upright position with castor wheels, so that they can be used to practice the actions of walking (gait training) or as a means of getting around independently.
Some vertical standers also include a power assist from sitting or lying to the standing position.
There is more information about mobility for children with special needs in our Disabled Children section