How to choose and use the right walking frame for you

A walking frame can mean the difference between mobility, independence and social participation, and not. Their ability to provide constant support and balance ensures level of confidence to go about your day to day activities. Walkers come in a multitude of designs, and it is important to choose the right one for your needs and comfort.

These are some key considerations before making a walker purchase:

  • Comfort – you will be using your walker constantly, so it must be comfortable and easy to use. It should be suitable for your height and weight, and for your mobility ability.
  • Portability and storage – do you need a model that can collapse or be dissembled often to fit in the car or other modes of transport? Do you need your walker out and ready to use at all times, or will you need to store it out of the way?
  • Fit – most walkers are adjustable in height, but some are fixed. For maximum comfort and to prevent repetitive strain injury from ill fit, the handgrip should be level to your wrist crease when you stand comfortably with your arms relaxed to your sides. This ensures the optimal 15 to 30 degree elbow bend when using the walker.

Using your walking frame

Place your walking frame in parallel position facing forward. Using the frame for balance and support, move on leg forward first, then the next – if you have one impaired and one non-impaired leg, lead with the impaired leg – once stable, move the frame forward again. Do not use your frame on stairs as this presents a substantial falls risk. Be mindful not to place the frame too far forward, and when sitting or standing up, use the arms of the seat for leverage and support.

Rollators, Castors, Glides and Skis

Rollators are popular walking frames with wheels and usually a seat and basket. They suit those needing bilateral support but who have overall better balance and stability, and come with two different braking systems – hand brakes and push down brakes.  They are often used by those who may have enough balance and stability to use a walking stick interchangeably with the walker, and there are accessories that allow a walking stick to be clipped to the rollator for ease of use.

Fixed frames are more suited to those with less mobility and shuffling gait, and who require more support. They come with standard rubber tips making them non-slip, or can usually be fitted with glides and/or skis that allow for a smother push along motion if only being used on carpeted surfaces or where lifting the frame forward is problematic. Some static frames may be fitted with castors that provide a smooth rolling and supported motion, or a combination of castors on the two front legs and rubber tips, glides or skis on the back.

The end result of your walking frame purchase should be positive, with you finding a walker that specifically suits your individual needs. Our highly trained staff enjoy sharing their expertise and working with you to achieve this result.

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