If your physician recommended that you begin using a walker, you need to choose the right walker and learn how to use it properly. When you use the right walker correctly, it can help you ambulate safely with less pain. However, if you use the wrong walker or use your walker incorrectly, you can instead increase your risk of falls and worsen your daily aches and pains.
Read on to learn about four tips to choose your new walker and use it properly to help make walking safer again.
1. Choose Your Walker Wisely
The two main walker types available today include standard walkers and rolling walkers.
Standard walkers have four legs and no wheels. You lift this walker type up and down as you ambulate with it — instead of rolling it across the floor. However, your doctor may suggest that you add special attachments called gliders or skids to the walker legs that allow the walker to glide along the floor.
This walker type is best for people who typically only walk short distances, such as around the house, and who are prone to falling forward.
Wheeled walkers vary greatly in style and design. However, the most popular wheeled walkers have wheels, also called casters, attached to all four legs of the walker. These wheels allow you to walk more quickly and effortlessly when using your walker.
Wheeled walkers are better options for people who walk relatively long distances on a daily basis or lack the arm strength to lift a standard walker up and down very frequently every day.
2. Adjust Your Walker to the Appropriate Height
Whether you opt for a standard or a wheeled walker, you must adjust the walker to the proper height to prevent additional stress on your back and shoulders as you walk.
Adjust your walker height so your elbows are bent at a 15-degree angle when your hands are on the grips. Alternatively, relax your arms at your sides and adjust your walker height to line up the top of the walker grips with your wrists.
If you have trouble adjusting your walker height on your own or do not feel confident you have it properly adjusted, never hesitate to ask your doctor to adjust it for you during your next office visit.
3. Ambulate With Your Walker Properly
You must hold and move your walker properly to prevent both falls and the aches and pains that can occur when walking with improper posture.
Before taking your first step with your walker, hold the device about one step ahead of you and place your hands firmly on the grips. Then, step into the middle of the walker frame with one foot, followed with the other. Next, move the walker slightly in front of your body again and then step into it as you did before.
Keep your back straight when using your walker and avoid supporting your upper body weight with your arms because, over time, bad habits can lead to back pain.
Ambulating with your walker may feel awkward at first, but with practice and time, it will begin to feel like second nature.
4. Consider Convenient Walker Accessories
The right walker accessories can make using a walker much more convenient. Since you cannot carry items around with your hands when using a walker, consider adding a cup holder accessory to it that you can use to carry your favorite beverage. You can also attach a basket to the front of your walker you can use to carry additional items around the house or even place small grocery items in while you are shopping.
Other popular walker accessories available include meal trays, flashlights, and plush handle covers.
If your physician suggested that you begin using a walker to assist you in your daily living activities and regain your independence, then keep these four tips for success in mind as you choose and begin using your first walker. Contact the product specialists at Corner Home Medical to order your new walker and walker accessories today.