Greetings all. Laura Barish here to talk with you about the selection and use of walkers. Walkers are a great assistive device and can help ensure safe ambulation. Unfortunately most of the people I see using walkers are pushing them ahead of themselves and are hunched over because the walker is too far in front of them.
I believe there are two reasons for this. First, most people are not taught how to properly use a walker. The walker is provided and hopefully the height has been adjusted so it is properly set to the individual. Rarely, however, does someone receive the training or work with an occupational therapist on how to properly walk with their walker; and so we see them hunched over as they stroll along. Sometimes the ‘hunch’ is due to physical decline but many times not. This hunch, however, can end up throwing off the body’s alignment and creating physical pain associated with an incorrect walking pattern.
The second reason we may see the hunch is due to a poor walker design. On many rolling walkers the seat impedes the natural swing through of the leg resulting in the walker being pushed forward to ensure enough.
So, how do you pick a walker that meets all your criteria. My suggestion is to go to a medical supply store in your area that offer many different types of walkers. Try them all. Are you able to stand straight upright and walk in a relaxed manner or are you having to push the walker forward in order to walk?
There is one walker that I have found that meets most of my criteria for a good design. It is a rolling A frame walker with a fold down seat. The hospital A frame walker is, in my opinion, the best designed walker on the market. However, it is limiting for some adults who find the lack of 4 wheels and hand brakes to be problematic. And then there is the lack of seat and storage that comes with many rolling walkers. The rolling A Frame does not have storage but a bag can easily be attached. The walker is safe, stable, and very adjustable.
Regardless of the walker you choose, select one that will allow you to stand up straight and walk comfortably.
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