A walker or walking frame is a tool for disabled or elderly people who need additional support to maintain balance or stability while walking. The basic design consists of a lightweight frame that is about waist high, approximately 12 inches (30 cm) deep and slightly wider than the user. Walkers are also available in other sizes… View Article
A walker or walking frame is a tool for disabled or elderly people who need additional support to maintain balance or stability while walking. The basic design consists of a lightweight frame that is about waist high, approximately 12 inches (30 cm) deep and slightly wider than the user. Walkers are also available in other sizes such as pediatric (for children) or bariatric (for obese persons). Modern walkers are height adjustable and should be set at a height that is comfortable for the user, but will allow the user to maintain a slight bend in their arms. This bend is needed to allow for proper blood circulation through the arms as the walker is used. The front two legs of the walker may or may not have wheels attached, depending on the strength and abilities of the person using it.
The person walks with the frame surrounding their front and sides and their hands provide additional support by holding on to the top of the sides of the frame. Traditionally, a walker is picked up and placed a short distance ahead of the user. The user then walks to it and repeats the process. With the use of wheels and glides, the user may push the walker ahead as opposed to picking it up. This makes for easier use of the walker, as it does not require the user to use their arms to lift the walker. This is beneficial for those with little arm strength. A walker is often used by those who are recuperating from leg or back injuries. It is also commonly used by persons having problems with walking or with mild balance problems.
The following tips will help you safely use your walker:
There are many different types of walkers to choose from. The two main types of walkers are a standard walker and a wheeled walker.
The standard walker is typically an aluminum frame with four adjustable legs that contact the floor. There are small handgrips on the top to hold onto the walker. The legs help provide extra support while you are walking. There are also rubber caps on each leg to help grip the floor and prevent the walker from slipping.
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 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 up and down stairs.
A standard walker usually has a folding mechanism that allows the walker to be folded flat for easy transport in a car or on public transportation.
A wheeled walker is usually an aluminum framed walker with two wheels on the front legs. This allows the walker to be pushed along the floor while walking and eliminates the need to lift the walker to advance it.
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.