The correct way to use a walker is simple and safe. It’s pretty much common sense. But, there are a few finer points that will help anyone get the most out of using one if they need to.
Simple Steps For Correct Use Of A Walker
- For one, make sure that you’ve adjusted the walker to the proper height
- When you position yourself in front of the walker don’t be too far into it
- During ambulation, advance the walker ahead about 1 step length
- With your painful/bad/weak leg step forward & place your the toes into the center of the imaginary square of the walker
- Now, bear your body weight on your straightened arms
- Lastly, step forward with the other foot
- Then simply repeat steps 3-6
First off, your walker has to be adjusted to your proper height in order to give you the best leverage and the most support.
You’ll find that if its adjusted too low, you won’t be able to stand up straight and walk in a normal fashion.
And, if its too high, you won’t be able to use your arms to support your body weight and won’t be able to walk as well.
To make sure you have the right height, stand straight up inside the walker and let your hands rest at your sides. Then, raise or lower the walker so that the handles are level with the bend of your wrists. This will give you the proper height for your body and allow you the most leverage with your hands.
When you have to use a walker, it’s also important that you understand what the proper position between your body and the walker.
Should You Stand “Inside” A Walker?
A lot of nurses and physical therapists tell their patients that they should stand “inside” the walker in order to use it the “right way”. This is bad advice because most people will end up standing to close to the front cross bar of the walker.
Standing too close to the cross bar will cause you to put too much weight on the back of your feet tending to cause you to lean backwards when standing straight up. As a result, most people will bend forward in the attempt to compensate and this leads to bad posture and habits of movement.
With the best positioning of the walker, a person’s hands will always be to the front of their hips/thighs. Whether you’re at rest and standing straight, or when you’re walking, having the hands in front of the hips/thighs will give you the best support.
Now, with your toes resting in the center of the imaginary square/retangle made by the walker’s 4 legs, push the walker forward about a step length.
Step forward with your “bad/worse” leg first just far enough so that your toes rest in the center of the imaginary square/retangle again.
It’s important to start out with the “bad/worse” leg first because it’ll be easier for you to use your arms to help support your body.
Lean your body weight onto your arms at this point and use them, plus your weak leg to support your body weight while you step forward with your other foot.
Correctly Using A Walker Is Simple
Physical therapist’s have a “cadence call” that you may have heard when they’re training people to use a walker. It goes something like this:
“Walker. Bad/weak/sore leg. Good leg. Walker. Bad/weak/sore leg. Good leg.”
Watch the video below for more tips.
Remembering this along with the importance of proper walker height and walker positioning, are simple steps to using a walker correctly.