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How To Walk With A Walker: A Quick Guide In Utilizing A Mobility Device Conveniently

senior walking using a walker

Last Updated: June 9, 2021

Older people with bone problems, injured or recovering from surgery, seek medical devices to help them move around safely.

And...

Maybe you're a beginner at using a mobility device and would like to know how to use a walker.

Relatively, you could be starting to learn how to use a walker with front wheels or curious about how to use a rollator walker.

Here are helpful tips on having more independence and enjoy freedom, so keep reading and discover practical ways of using a walker.

Who Would Need To Use Walkers?

A Walker is one of the many assistive devices available today. It offers more stability than using canes or crutches, which is why most physicians and therapists recommend them. The following are some of the things that could make a walker beneficial to its user:

  • Helping people who have challenges in keeping their balance
  • Decreases the risk of falls or any injuries
  • Increases activity and independence for those with musculoskeletal problems
  • Offers support for those with weakened muscles
  • Helping those experiencing pain and any kind of distress when walking

The Different Types Of Walkers

Those requiring more stability and support when walking would find using a walker helpful. To better understand how you can look for one that meets your needs, you will need to know its varying types.

These are the following:

Standard Walkers

man using standard walker

A standard walker is the most basic mobility aid featuring four straight legs and no wheels. Most people who need more stability would often use this kind of walker to guarantee increased balance and support.

This type of walker is excellent for controlling your body and maintaining proper posture.

Some models are foldable to suit your needs for portability, although they may cost a lot more than non-foldable walkers.

Two-Wheel Walkers

Resembling the look of a standard walker with two wheels, this is how the two-wheel walker got its reputation of being the hybrid rolling walker. Utilizing this type of walker requires the user to apply his/her weight on the walker as the wheels expedite the movement.

A two-wheel walker could also be a good choice for people having severe problems with balance, like those who have Parkinson's disease.

Wheeled Walkers

There are various types of rolling walkers available in the market today. This walker type is typically helpful for users who are not able to lift and move their devices.

Here are some of the wheeled walkers you may encounter:

Front Support Or The Anterior Walker

The typical placement of this kind of wheeled walker is in front of the user, shifting the weight forward onto the device. This type of walker has more extensive base support, making it more stable for walking.

Back Support Or The Posterior Walker

While you customarily place an anterior walker at the front of the user, you position this kind of wheeled walker behind the user. It may have two front legs only or four wheels in its front and back legs. This type of walker is suitable for posture and balance when standing and walking.

Rollator Walker

A rolling walker is a unique assistive device. It offers more flexibility and convenience to the user but could also be the most expensive type of walker. The rollators are a 3-wheel walker or four wheels, feature hand brakes, a seat, and handlebars.

How To Use A Walker Correctly

Learning how to walk with a walker may take a lot of time and practice. But when you know how to properly use a walker, you prevent putting yourself at risk of an injury, which is why it's crucial.

Nonetheless, there are different ways that you might need help with when it comes to the proper use of a walker.

Here are some of them:

How To Walk With A Standard Walker

  • If you want to know how to use a walker, you must first adjust it to the correct height. Using the appropriate height can reduce needless stress on the user's shoulders and back. Using the best walkers for tall people is also one of the great options.
  • Raise the walker slightly and position it at a comfortable distance preceding you. The most appropriate space is placing the walker about an arm's length away from you.
  • Ensure that its legs all touch the ground before making your first step to prevent accidents like tipping the walker over.
  • When learning how to walk with a walker for the first time, move your weaker leg in the walker's direction.
  • While using the walker's handles for balance, take a step using your fully functional leg, stepping it forward ahead of the weaker leg.
  • If both of your legs have an injury, always start using the weaker leg first, then step the other leg forward.
  • Keep your body at the center of the walker the whole time while doing all these steps.
  • Remember to have adequate space between you and the walker at all times because getting too close to it can make you lose balance.
  • Repeat the entire cycle and continue walking forward while using the handlebars for support.

How To Stand Up Using Your Walker

man standing using walker

  • Position the walker at your front with its open side facing you and ensure that all its legs touch the ground.
  • Hold onto the walker's handle with a firm grip for balance. The top part of your walker should reach the crease of your wrist.
  • Maintain proper posture, stand up straight, and avoid hunching over the walker.
  • Shift the walker forward a short distance and lean forward with the help of your arms.
  • Grab the crossbar using a hand and use your other free hand to hold onto the chair's arms.
  • Attempting to use only the walker for standing up may not be an excellent idea since it can tip over.
  • Never incline the walker towards you when attempting to stand up.

How To Turn When Using Your Walker

  • If you need to turn, secure the walker in front of you.
  • Make small steps when turning with the use of your walker.
  • You can try shifting the walker, positioning it at a short distance followed by your legs.
  • You may also turn by walking with your walker in a vast circular motion to avoid twisting your knee joints.

How To Sit When Using Your Walker

  • Using the walker to help you sit or stand is not a very reliable thing to do.
  • You may try to hold onto the arms of a stable chair.
  • Slightly shift backward until your legs touch the chair.
  • Securely hold onto the armrest, lean forward, lower yourself slowly, and ease into the chair.

How To Use A Walker With One Leg

  • Whether you're using a walker with one or two legs, it is vital to ensure the right height. Adjusting your walker to its appropriate height can provide you with more advantages and maximize support.
  • Pay more attention so that you position the walker in such a way that your toes are at the center.
  • You would know that you're in the best position when your hand is at the front of your thighs or hips when holding the walker.
  • Stride ahead using the walker, at least about a step length away.
  • Lean forward and shift your weight onto your leveled arms
  • Start stepping forward; do not skip to move forward using your support foot.
  • Repeat the entire process.

How To Use A Rolling Walker Properly

old man using walker

Many people are terrified even to try learning how to use a walker with wheels. Some would even wonder and ask, "can you push someone in a rollator?"

If these are your questions, you are not alone, as several others would also love to know the answer.

Keep reading as we learn how to use a rolling walker properly the easier way. The following are several suggestions which you might find beneficial:

  • Ensure that you adjust the walker to the perfect height that's suitable for you.
  • Stand close to your walker with your hands on the handlebars. Your feet should also be at the back of the rear wheels.
  • After securing your position, undo the brakes, and you may start walking.
  • While walking, shift your body's weight onto the legs, and use the arms for support.
  • Utilize the brakes in maintaining control over their speed.
  • Your rolling walker should be at the front of your chest as you take small steps towards the direction where you wish to turn. Your rollator will then follow your movement.
  • When sitting on a rollator, make sure to lock the brakes first, push the walker against a wall, and sit gently.
  • Lastly, pushing someone in a rollator is not advisable because it only has a unique design as a walking aid. Pushing someone in a rollator may lead to an accident.

Frequently Asked Questions In Using Walkers

How do you stand up with a walker?

Earlier, we discussed how to stand up using a standard walker. In addition to that, here are some more tips when standing up using a rolling walker:

  • Ensure that you lock the brakes first.
  • Legs and wheels should all be in contact with the floor.
  • Sit towards the edge of your seat and move your body forward as you prepare to stand.

Can you use a walker for non-weight bearing?

Using a walker for non-weight-bearing activities or situations can be extremely helpful for rehabilitation. Just remember that when using a walker in this condition, make few small steps but never hop.

How to use a walker to go up steps?

Experts do not recommend those who are using walkers to go up the stairs, especially by themselves.

However, when going up a curb, you must first try moving closer to the step. Ensure that your walkers' legs are on the surface, then step up using your functional leg using your walker for support.

Consequently, once you are confident of your balance, use the other leg for stepping up or down to the surface. Grab the handles firmly to help you balance and take the weight off your legs gradually.

Here's a demo on how to go upstairs using a regular walker:

How to use a walker as a bed rail?

An assistive bed rail's unique construction allows it to support the user when standing up from the bed or climbing into it. Nonetheless, if you intend to use your walker as a bed rail, you might want to consider using a standard mobility rail.

Final Thoughts

Choosing a suitable device and knowing how to use it are both crucial to maximizing the benefits of using a walker.

Now that you fully understand how to use a walker, you will now achieve that sense of security in having safer walks.

You can now enjoy more independence by having the extra support you need, whether it's moving around the house or a walk at the park. As you get the hang of using it, you will hardly realize how you turn into a pro in no time.

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