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Measuring a walking aid: Everything you need to know to measure a walking aid correctly

This document was created in association with NHS Supply Chain and is endorsed by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.

View and download this guidance as a PDF here.

Making life simpler for walking aid users

For years, the experience of patients trying to find the right walking aid has been a confusing one. Suppliers and manufacturers have described products in different ways, and the way patients are measured to find the right one for them has also differed.

To improve the experience for walking aid users and the professionals who support them, NHS Supply Chain has engaged with the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) members, professional bodies and their members, suppliers and walking aid users to develop industry standard terminology, sizing criteria and ways of measuring patients.

Standardised measurement for patients

NHS Supply Chain is asking everyone to adopt the first wrist crease as the initial measurement point, prior to using clinical reasoning and patient comfort in the final height decision.

Standardised terminology

The following terms and ranges have been agreed for implementation by NHS Supply Chain. Suppliers and distributors are being encouraged to adopt the same.

Width – Ultra Narrow, Narrow, Standard Width, Wide, and Extra Wide

Height – Small, Medium, Large, and Extra Large.

The agreed measurements of the above are detailed below.

Width Brackets

Lower limit (mm) Upper limit (mm)

Ultra Narrow≤499mm
Narrow500mm – 550mm
Standard Width551mm – 600mm
Wide601mm – 650mm
Extra Wide651mm – no upper limit

Height Brackets

Lower limit (mm) Upper limit (mm)

Small≤649mm
Medium650mm – 849mm
Large850mm – 949mm
Extra Large950mm – no upper limit

Where a product spans multiple height ranges then the naming convention would be the start and end bracket. For example, a product with a height of 720mm-1,010mm would be termed Medium-Extra Large.

An example product description would be: Double Adjustable Crutch, Medium-Large (650-900mm), SWL 160kg.