Powered Mobility

Walker buying Guide

What is a Walker?

A walker also referred to as a “walking aid”  is a device used by individuals who require additional support while walking. The walker encourages balance and/or stability while walking. If you or your loved one wishes to maintain walking mobility, do not require a wheelchair, but needs extra assistance, a walker is a suitable option.

How do I use a Walker?

Before using a walker, we suggest that you talk to your doctor and occupational therapist to find which is the best type of walker for you and to learn how to use it properly. Before using a walker, you must make sure it is the correct height and width for you. To check the height of the walker, stand up inside the frame and allow your arms to hang down. The handgrips of the walker should be at the level of your wrists. If they are not, sit down and use the small push buttons to adjust the four legs of the walker to the correct height.  Make sure you do not stand too close to the front crossbar of the walker. Also, make note of the all four feet contact rule, aka the four points of contact. Make sure to touch your device to the floor at the same time to avoid tipping the walker over.

What are the Different Types of Walkers?

There are a variety of walkers available, with varying designs among the different categories. The main types of walkers are:

  • The Basic Walker
  • Wheeled Walkers (Two Wheels)
  • Canes

The Basic Walker

The Basic Walker has no wheels, and is best suited for indoor services without much terrain. The Basic Walker provides a lot of stability for individuals that have difficulty balancing. An advantage of using a standard walker is that it provides a great amount of stability to help prevent loss of balance and falls. One disadvantage is that you must use your arms to lift and advance the walker while walking. If your arms are weak, this may present itself as a problem. The lifting and advancing of the walker can become tiresome. Also, a standard walker is difficult to use on stairs, and often you will need another person to help carry the device.

The Wheeled Walker

The Wheeled Walker allows the user to move outdoors with ease. The two wheels on the walker are often fixed, which is helpful on uneven ground. The wheels allow for a smoother movement but they do not allow much rotation. An advantage of a wheeled walker is that it allows you to walk with greater speed. One disadvantage is that it is less stable than a standard walker and can easily be pushed away from you while walking. Like the standard walker, the wheeled walker is usually foldable for easy storage and transport. It is also not safe to use a wheeled walker to walk up and down stairs. Make note of keeping the wheeled walker within reach as the wheels can let it slip away.

Canes

Canes are a more simplistic version of the walker. They are generally more cost effective and are easily transported and stored. Canes are ideal for individuals who need minimal support or who need support for only a short period of time, such as post-surgery recovery.  

If you’re wondering if a rollator is right instead or you want buying guide for purchasing the right rollator you can find them here:

 

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