Walker Selection Guide
The most common types of walkers include the two-wheel, four-wheel, three wheel and elbow support walkers. All provide stability if you have some difficulty balancing or if you're at risk of falling.
Two-wheel walkers are best if you need to place any weight on your walker as you move. The legs without wheels prevent the walker from rolling away from you.
If you don't need to lean on your walker for balance, you might be able to walk faster with a four-wheel walker. Four-wheel walkers have brakes, which you can use if you're walking down an incline.
Three wheel walkers are easier to turn than four wheel models, but are much less stable. Three wheel walkers should not be used on rough or sloping surfaces and are best suited to indoors only.
Elbow support walkers are more suitable for people with back, shoulder or hip problems. They are much less maneuverable, are heavier and donâ€™t fold well for transport, so are not recommended unless necessary.
Fitting Your Walker
Adjust your walker so that it fits your arms comfortably. To tell if your walker is the correct height, step inside your walker and:
- Check your elbow bend. Place your hands on the grips. Your elbow should bend at a comfortable angle - about 30 degrees.
- Check your wrist height. Relax your arms at your sides. The top of your walker should line up with the crease on the inside of your wrist.
A properly fitted walker reduces the stress on your shoulders and back as you move the walker in front of you.
Taking Your First Step
If you have a leg injury or disability, begin moving with your walker by pushing your walker forward. Keep your back upright. Stepping into the walker Next, place one leg inside the walker. Keep your walker still as you step in. Stepping with your other foot Finally, step forward with your other leg into the walker. The walker remains still. Repeat the process by moving your walker forward. As you continue using your walker, this three-step process becomes smoother.
If you use your walker for balance, but you don't have an injury or disability that affects your legs, you can simply walk as you normally would, guiding your walker in front of you.
Stand inside, not behind, your walker as you push it.
Don't lean over your walker.
Pushing your walker out too far in front of you is a common mistake. Always step into your walker, rather than walking behind it, so you'll stay upright as you move.
Another common mistake is to set your walker at too great a height. Both of these errors can make using your walker less comfortable and make it more likely that you'll fall.
Accessories can make it easier to use your walker. Trays can help you carry your dinner or a glass to a table. A pouch attached to the side can carry books or magazines. You can fit some walkers with a seat or a basket.
Choose a walker that fits your needs, but also pick one that's comfortable for you to use. Talk to your doctor, a physical therapist or a knowledgeable salesperson at Discount Mobility Aids to help you decide what's best for you.