Men's Articles

Uses Of Physical Aids

Braille Literature

Braille is the universally accepted system of reading and writing used by those people who are blind. It was originally developed in 1824 by Louis Braille, who was 15 years old at the time. In 1837 a more complete elaboration appeared, and through the years additional systems appeared: the English Braille (which very closely followed the original French Braille); American Braille; and New York Point. Finally, in 1916 English Braille was accepted in the United States as the standard, and as the universal system for the English-speaking world in 1932. The system is based on 63 characters, each of which is made up of one to six embossed dots which is read by touch.


A catheter is a tube that is inserted into a hollow organ of the body in order to drain or introduce fluids. A urinary catheter is inserted into the bladder through the urethra to relieve obstruction to the flow of urine. Cardiac catheters are used to measure blood pressure in the heart. Similar catheters are used to inject radio-opaque substances into blood vessels for X-ray examination.

Contact Lenses 

Contact lenses are plastic corrective disks that cling to the cornea with the aid of the eye's fluid layer, which cushion the lenses and hold them in place. Although there are hundreds of brands and types and some very specialized lenses, there are three main types of contact lenses on the market: rigid gas permeable lenses and soft lenses (both intended for daily wear only), and extended-wear lenses (designed to be worn for longer periods, including overnight). Recently a new type of extended-wear lens became available, the disposable lens.


Crutches are wooden or metal staffs, used to aid a person in walking. They commonly are made to reach almost to the armpit with a padded, curved surface at the top that fits under the arm. A crossbar on each crutch is gripped by the hands to hold up the body. Crutches are generally used to prevent putting weight on either or both legs as a result of an injury, etc.


Eyeglasses are generally worn to correct refractive defects, or faulty focusing. The conditions that can cause this are usually near-sightedness, when near objects are more closely focused and distant objects are fuzzy, or far-sightedness, when close-up vision is blurred. Another common problem is astigmatism, when the cornea or lens is uneven and causes a distortion.

Eyeglasses can be single lens, the entire lens is one prescription, bifocal, when two prescriptions are found on the lens, or even trifocal, with three prescriptions on the lens. Reading glasses are commonly used by people who have developed presbyopia ("old eyes"), when the lens of the eye becomes less flexible and less able to change shape and focus on close objects.

Hearing Aid 

A hearing aid is a device used to correct for loss of hearing. All hearing aids consist of a microphone, speaker, amplifier, volume control, and battery. The different models include one worn behind or in the ear, or fitted to a pair of glasses, one that fits entirely inside the ear or even in the ear canal, and the type that is worn in a shirt pocket with a wire connection to an ear receiver.


A prosthesis is an artificial part of the body, commonly an arm or a leg, or part of a leg, such as from the knee to the foot. Bone, artery and heart valve replacements are also common, and artificial eyes and teeth are also considered prostheses. More complicated prostheses include a plastic socket to replace a hip joint.

Although the science of prosthetics began in the late 16th century, most advances have occurred since World War II with the use of plastics. And history reports references to artificial limbs dating back to ancient India and Greece. Research continues to be done to solve such problems as inadequate socket fit and the need for more durable cosmetic coverings.


A truss is a belt worn for support, to prevent or slow the pushing through of the intestines or other organ through an opening in the abdominal wall, such as for a hernia.


A walker is a movable device used to help a person walk. It is lightweight, made of metal tubing, and has four widely placed, sturdy legs shaped in a "U" with the open end next to the person holding it. The patient holds onto the walker, takes a step into the "U", then moves the walker forward and takes another step.

The walker can be collapsed into itself for easy storage and transportability, so that the person can take it with him or her into a car, onto a bus, etc. The walker is frequently given to patients recovering from a stroke, hip surgery, or other condition which might lessen the patient's ability to walk unaided. With the walker the patient has considerably more freedom because the walker is so stable.

Walking Cane

A walking cane is a sturdy wooden or metal stick used to support a person who can walk but is partially disabled. The use of a cane also allows movement. Proper fit and use are necessary for the cane to be of any assistance. It should be of appropriate length to allow the person with the injured leg to walk using the cane on the side of the healthy leg, allowing the elbow to bend at a 25 degree angle.

When walking, the person should rest his or her weight on the cane and the injured leg while moving the healthy leg forward. Then with the body's weight on the healthy leg, the cane and the injured leg are moved forward together; thus the injured leg is supported.


A wheelchair is a mobile chair with large wheels and brakes used for people who cannot or should not walk on their own. The chair usually has foot pads, to allow support of the feet off the floor, that can be folded back when not in use, such as when a patient wheels up to a table or is otherwise stationary. Wheelchairs can be specially equipped to accommodate long-term use, such as padded seats, adjustable height armrests, and even specialized control systems (the "electric" wheelchair) that can be operated by either the left or right hand, the mouth, or even teeth movements.

These chairs can even accommodate additional accessories, such as an oxygen tank or an intravenous drug drip bag, to allow the patient more freedom of movement. Wheelchairs have evolved from the very heavy, cumbersome chair of the last century to chairs that are of lighter weight, more easily maneuverable, and portable.

Wheelchairs are also made in different sizes to accommodate people of various heights, from young children to tall adults, and today most can be folded in on themselves for storage or transporting. There are even wheelchair racks available for attaching to an automobile to assist in transporting a chair.


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