How to use a walker properly

The need for an ambulatory assistive device may become necessary as people age or experience injuries that impact their mobility. These devices are often used to help individuals with decreased balance, pain, weakness, fatigue or joint instability. They also take the weight off a lower extremity that has undergone a surgery or been injured. Periodically, Turenne PharMedCo will look at various assistive devices. This blog covers the basics of walkers and how to use them properly to get the most from this device.

Types of walkers

Walkers can come with or without wheels. The wheeled walkers may have two or four wheels. One of the primary differences in using a walker with wheels instead of a standard non-wheeled walker is that wheeled walkers allow for a more normal gait pattern. A person is able to walk with a continuous stepping pattern versus stopping to advance a standard walker after every couple of steps.

Walkers can also be customized for the person’s needs with the addition of benches or hanging baskets to carry items. A bench or seating on a walker can be a beneficial addition if the person is easily fatigued or may need rest breaks for long-distance walking. Whatever additions are chosen, the most important factor is that the added feature should not hinder the person’s ability to easily walk with the device.

How to use a walker

A walker is used to enhance stability when walking so it’s important to ensure that it is properly adjusted to the right height. A tip for measuring appropriate height is for the user to stand inside of the walker with their arms hanging at their side. The handles of the walker should be about the level of their wrists.

When walking with the walker, they should be careful to not extend their toes beyond the front bars of the walker. Walking too close to the front bars of the walker can put them in danger of the walker tipping backward. When being mobile, a walker should be held by the handle grips located on each side with both hands at all times. They should not carry anything in one hand while maneuvering a walker. Also, the resting of the forearms on the handle of the walker should be avoided.

A user should stand up straight when walking and try not to put excessive weight on their arms. To maintain balance, it is important to put most of their body weight through their legs when walking. When sitting, they should never pull up on the walker to stand. They should always push up from the seat to stand then use the walker for balance and walking.

Let us help

Turenne PharMedCo provides quality medical supplies and solutions. To learn more about how assistive devices can help improve mobility, contact us at 1-866-710-7626.

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