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Special Needs, Mobility and Disabled Use Information and discussion for those with special needs interested in the Segway.

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Old 02-16-2013, 04:06 AM   #1
bdtbaltimore
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Default Advice Please-Balance Issues

My name is Brent, I am a disabled law student living in Gulfport, FL, which is basically right by St. Pete's Beach, in St. Petersburg obviously. I have a spinal cord injury that results in my walking with a cane and a limp. I have 30% use of my left leg and 80% use of my right leg. Balance can be an issue for me as well as walking distances. I recently totaled my truck and really am interested in getting a Segway. My concern is that my balance issues would prevent me from riding a Segway. Is this the case? Does anyone else have these issues and what are your experiences? Also, I was considering a seated Segway, but don't want to have to invest the extra money if it's unnecessary. So does below average to poor balance prevent one from being able to properly operate the machine? And also, I can stand, but would prefer to sit. So is the seated option a worthy one? Thanks everyone for your time, and I hope someone can help me with a response. Take care.
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Old 02-19-2013, 07:15 PM   #2
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Brent,

I would offer that each and every case is different, and that what you consider a 30% loss of use in one leg, another may call something else.
I have a 30% loss of use in one knee, as an example, due to an old army injury. However, most days, you cannot tell. My wife says my limp is absorbed by my swagger. (Some days, my swagger is more pronounced )

My loss manifests itself with 'bad' days, where I cannot climb stairs, or days when I am walking along fine, and my knee just lets go, and I fall to the ground. (Has happened on the stairs a couple times, not fun...)

So, while on this forum, or on paper, our bad leg may be parallel somewhat, in real life, they manifest themselves very differently.

Also, there is risk involved in anything you do. I would say there is more risk to falling on a segway than not, but many with mobility issues will fall more due to the fatigue from walking distances, and they do not get as tired while on segway, so they are less likely to fall. It is all very subjective.

I would suggest you seek out a segway tour, or a segway dealer, and explain to them your situation, and try out a segway for a while before you decide. And you will still have to decide for yourself, but you will have a better understanding of the situation.

You may find that the segway is a great tool to use, and to regain some of your lost mobility, and that it is perfect. You may find otherwise.

Either way, I think you will find the adventure of finding an answer to be lots of fun.

Good luck.
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:35 PM   #3
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Amen to that suggestion! Having MS, balance is an issue. I called the local tour operator in Atlanta and booked a tour for my wife and I, but was a little concerned about the balance issue. I called and explained the situation and asked if I could try it out a day earlier in private so I wouldn't look like a dummy and 'fall off' in front of everyone.
I got on the Segway in the store and went a few feet and turned around, then another couple of times. I commented, "that was easy!" and the nice lady helping me said, "I told you it was!"
That's my experience - I use my Segway every day at work - your story may work out as well. Try it and see. It can be liberating!
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Old 02-20-2013, 03:23 AM   #4
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A lot depends on the nature of your balance issue.

If the problem is being able to perform the necessary balancing, a Segway is a good substitute. I'm more stable on a Segway than off, because my legs simply do not respond as quickly or accurately as the Segway.

If the problem is sensory, it may be more of an issue. I suspect people with vertigo, for example, might have more of a problem. It might be possible to overcome it -- the Segway will respond regardless of your sensory input, and you might be able to cue off of those responses. Keeping it in beginner mode so it responds more slowly might help by giving you more time to orient.

But I'm armchair theorizing about both problem and solution with sensory deficits -- again, everybody is different. It's not just your physical condition, but also your personality and attitude and preferences which come into play. If you're very determined to make it work, it's more likely to be a success, but you should also keep in mind that it's not the right solution for everyone.
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Obviously, we can't have infinite voltage, or the universe would tear itself to shreds, and we wouldn't be discussing Segways.
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:34 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob.Kerns View Post
A lot depends on the nature of your balance issue.

If the problem is being able to perform the necessary balancing, a Segway is a good substitute. I'm more stable on a Segway than off, because my legs simply do not respond as quickly or accurately as the Segway.

If the problem is sensory, it may be more of an issue. I suspect people with vertigo, for example, might have more of a problem. It might be possible to overcome it -- the Segway will respond regardless of your sensory input, and you might be able to cue off of those responses. Keeping it in beginner mode so it responds more slowly might help by giving you more time to orient.

But I'm armchair theorizing about both problem and solution with sensory deficits -- again, everybody is different. It's not just your physical condition, but also your personality and attitude and preferences which come into play. If you're very determined to make it work, it's more likely to be a success, but you should also keep in mind that it's not the right solution for everyone.
Another possibility is that having a seat on your segway may help overcome some balance issues. I cannot maintain my balance standing, but can function on a seated segway fine. I do have to lean the segway against a wall to stabliize it to get on/off as I wouldnt have the balance to do it if it was just standing there (although the seg balances pretty darn well on its own and I have used it as a cane). You do need the ability to raise your foot to be able to step up on the seg. Good luck
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Old 02-21-2013, 06:10 PM   #6
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Brent

You will not know untill you try. For me the Segway was a life changing adaptation.
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Old 03-17-2013, 12:33 PM   #7
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Default balance issues

I have balance issues resulting from a surgery six years ago, but I still have good muscle strength. I tried a Segway i2 at a local dealer, and found I could manage once I got on. I then got one for myself, and absolutely love it. I recommend trying one first. Get on while leaning it against a wall or tree. After that it takes over. The i2 gave me my mobility back, but your case may be different.
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Old 04-07-2013, 02:44 AM   #8
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Bob, I have MS w/associated balance. I am finding practice is making it easier each ride. My first ride in the wild I fell as I was turning around on a slope.

The last 2 rides I remembered getting into that position And recognized it was just time to get off it and hand walk it. Those are my 2 cents
Hope it works for you, it has re-energized my life!

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Old 04-07-2013, 05:36 AM   #9
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You will also need to try out the seat options. Being able to do either may be just what you need. Each type of seat will have its own comfort and accessibility issues.
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Old 04-08-2013, 05:25 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdtbaltimore View Post
My name is Brent, I am a disabled law student living in Gulfport, FL, which is basically right by St. Pete's Beach, in St. Petersburg obviously. I have a spinal cord injury that results in my walking with a cane and a limp. I have 30% use of my left leg and 80% use of my right leg. Balance can be an issue for me as well as walking distances. I recently totaled my truck and really am interested in getting a Segway. My concern is that my balance issues would prevent me from riding a Segway. Is this the case? Does anyone else have these issues and what are your experiences? Also, I was considering a seated Segway, but don't want to have to invest the extra money if it's unnecessary. So does below average to poor balance prevent one from being able to properly operate the machine? And also, I can stand, but would prefer to sit. So is the seated option a worthy one? Thanks everyone for your time, and I hope someone can help me with a response. Take care.
Hi Brent:

For me, the seat is a necessity, I seldom stand when I glide anymore. There are a few options available for the seat out there; from my own experience, theSegSaddle works very very well. Go out and try it; it may be a life-changer for you. Best wishes
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