Proper Use Of A Walker

As I continue to struggle with my low back pain, I’ve been considering using a walker to get some exercise.  Honestly, I cannot walk more than a few yards without my back completely locking up.  I’ve noticed that I do better in the grocery store though.  I call it shopping cart therapy.  But since I don’t want to make the grocery store my gym and the weather is really nice right now here in Arizona (finally), I figure why not give it try.

But before I make the purchase, I’d like to know how to use a walker properly. After all, I’d certainly like to avoid causing myself further pain and injury, if possible.  Maybe some of you are in the same position as I am…struggling to do the right things to relieve back pain.  Maybe some of you require a walker just to get around.  In either case, this post on the proper use of a walker is sure to be of assistance.

How To Use A Walker

Walker Benefits Helps provide stability and support when recovering from illnesses or injuries. Increases mobility, balance and can be used for therapy or exercise.
Best Walker Fit To ensure the walker is a good fit for your height, check it with all four legs or wheels flat on the ground. The handles should be hip level. You should be able to grip the handles comfortably while standing up straight. Your elbows will be slightly bent.
Correct Use – Walking (Standard) Standard walkers have four legs with tips and are best for weight-bearing and stabilily. Start with the walker at arms length with all four legs flat on the ground. Grip the handles for balance and move your weak side first. Step into the middle of the walker. Follow with your stronger side. Lift the walker, set it down again and repeat.
Correct Use – Walking (Wheeled) Wheeled walkers are used the same way as the standard except you won’t have to pick-up the walker each time. For front-wheeled walkers, simply take the pressure off the rear legs and go. For four-wheeled walkers, release the brake (if applicable) and start walking.   Still start with your weaker side and then follow-through naturally.
Correct Use – Curbs Whenever possible, use an access ramp, especially for wheeled walkers as they may roll out from underneath you. For standard walkers, step up as close as possible to the curb edge. Place the walker up or down and grip the handles for balance. Lead with your stronger side first if going up and your weaker side first if going down.
Correct Use – Stairs Walkers are typically not recommended for use on stairs at all. If necessary, consult with a medical specialist for proper instruction.
Important Precautions 1) Never look down when walking instead look straight ahead. 2) Walkers are not intended to assist with getting up and down from a sitting position.   3) Walkers can easily give out in wet and slick conditions (e.g. in the snow, on ice or wet walkways). 4) Always monitor your pathway for anything that can get in the way including children and pets.

For my purposes, I’ve got my eye on Drive Medical Four Wheel Rollator with Fold Up Removable Back Support, Red (pictured above), most specifically for the adjustable handle height.  In fact, the height of a walker should allow the user to rest their arms on the handle with just a slight bend of the elbows.  Keeping oneself in the most natural walking position as possible is actually critical and helps prevent further injury.  I’m putting mine on order this week and will try it for exercise for about three weeks.  But then…be sure to come back for the review.

Any comments, feedback or suggestions are always appreciated here.

Let’s talk soon,

Denise

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