How to Choose the Right Walker

woman helping patient choose the right walker

Walking aids are intended to provide individuals with enhanced mobility. Walkers specifically are intended for older adults, seniors with mobility issues, and anyone with an injury or disability that puts them at a higher risk of falling. If you know how to choose the right walker, you will further reduce your risk of falling.

The risk of falling is significantly reduced when an individual uses a walker, rather than crutches or canes. In addition, the use of a walker allows people to maintain muscle mass and mobility, which is often lost when a person uses a wheelchair. This makes a walker the best choice for individuals who have mobility issues or injuries that prevent them from balancing or walking properly.

When choosing a walking aid, it is important to consider your mobility and balance levels. Individuals who lack proper balance typically use a walker that provides the highest level of balance and support possible. However, some individuals may not need the highest levels of support, leading them to opt for a less-intensive walking aid. Keeping this in mind, let’s learn how to choose the right walker for your specific needs.

Choosing the Right Walker for You

It’s important to remember that every form of walker will work differently for each individual. In other words, while one form of walking aid may work well for your friend, another may be the best option for you. There are a few must-know tips before choosing a walker, including the differences between basic and wheeled walkers.

Basic walkers do not include brakes. The user is intended to move the walker themselves. These walkers require the user to pick the walker up and move it using their arms. Because of this, individuals that lack upper body strength or mobility should consider choosing a different type of walking aid.

On the other hand, wheeled walkers are intended for individuals who need an easier-to-move walking aid. While users have to learn how to lock the brakes of their wheeled walker, these walking aids provide more fluid movement and ample stability. However, if you have a tendency to push outwards while walking, you should opt for a basic walker.

If you are completely unsure of the type of walker you need, you should consult with your primary care doctor or physical therapist. They can help point you in the right direction. When shopping for a walker, you should always consider whether it can accommodate your height, weight, and mobility abilities.

The Different Types of Walkers

Because there are different types of walkers, the right type for you is solely dependent on your needs and preferences. While some individuals confidently use a wheeled walker, other people may feel more secure while using a basic walker.

When choosing a walker, you need to be aware of the varying types available. Let’s take a look at the most popular types of walkers and who they are best suited for.

Basic Walkers

As the name suggests, a basic walker is the most common form of walker available. These are available in heavy-duty (bariatric) or junior styles and are best for indoor purposes. Because there are no wheels, these walkers provide the most stability for individuals with mobility issues.

Wheeled Walkers

Wheeled walkers are, simply put, walkers with wheels. The wheels provide individuals with easier mobility and higher ease of movement while outdoors. Wheeled walkers have two wheels in the front, and are often fixed – meaning they do not swivel from side to side. This form of walking aid is the right choice for individuals who need extra stability while traversing unsteady terrain. Additionally, there are folding wheeled-walkers that are best for individuals who travel and need to store their walkers in a small space.

Rollators

Rollators, similar to wheeled walkers, are walkers with wheels on all four legs, rather than only two in the front. Rollators offer the greatest range of movement and the most mobility. Many rollator models offer swiveling wheels and hand brakes, allowing for easier turns and stopping. If you are looking for the most mobility possible, you should choose a rollator walker with large wheels. In addition, rollators are typically equipped with seats and baskets, making them the perfect choice for those who are frequently on the go.

Canes

While walkers provide maximum stability, if you’re looking for something that provides minimal help, you may decide to choose a cane. Canes are designed to improve your ability to get up from seated positions or help with your balance while walking. Like walkers, there are a variety of canes to choose from, with the biggest differences being the handle type and whether the cane folds or not. When choosing a cane, based on its handle, individuals pay attention to the style and what feels the most comfortable. For the purposes of traveling and storage ease, folding canes are worth considering.

Purchasing a Reliable Walker

Individuals with balance or mobility issues should find a walking aid that suits their needs. After all, walkers are intended to give individuals more freedom and the ability to maneuver in their daily lives. Walkers should be reliable, comfortable, and financially-accommodating. At Kelmedix, we provide only the most reliable and effective walking aids on the market. When choosing the right walker for you, consider taking a look at the walking aid section of our online store. If you need help determining how to choose the right walker, contact us for a free consultation.

References:
1. National Library of Medicine, Falls among the elderly: epidemiology and prevention
2. National Library of Medicine, A Comparison of Muscular Activity During Gait Between Walking Sticks and a Walker in Patients With Adult Degenerative Scoliosis