A walking frame may come as a rollator (with wheels) or a normal walker (without wheels). And usually features a folding or adjustable design.
The essence of the different designs is to enable you to choose whichever suits your needs.
Apart from choosing the type and design you feel is best for you, you also need to learn how to use a walking frame correctly. This will enable you to use it perfectly without stumbling. Here’s a detailed guide to help you out.
What Type of Walking Frame is Best for You?
Although there are several walking frames out there, you need to figure out which is best for you. That is the first thing you need to do before learning how to walk with it. You need to start by asking yourself what type will be most comfortable for you.
There are two major types of walking frames and they come in different designs; walking frames with wheels and walking frames without wheels.
Walking Frames with Wheels
A walking frame with wheels is also known as a Rollator. This type often comes with a shopping basket where you can put small objects you’ll like to carry along with you when going out.
A rollator also features a seat in-between the handgrip to enable you to rest for a while whenever you are tired during a walk.
It enables you to move faster due to the wheels. However, you need to have some level of balance and stability to be able to use it.
Walking Frames without Wheels
A walking frame without wheels on its own enables you to walk at a much slower pace than you would, using a rollator. It doesn’t feature a seat or shopping basket, although, you may occasionally find some exceptional ones.
This mobility aid is targeted at people who do not have much stability and really need to lean on something while taking small steps.
Factors to Consider when Choosing a Walking Frame
Below are the important factors to consider before getting a walker.
Some walking frames come with designs that let you to easily adjust and completely disassemble them. This makes them easy to be conveyed from place to place and stored in a very limited space at home.
Some other types come as fixed (non-folding) frames. You can’t disassemble or fold them to fit into a very small space in the interiors of your car for transportation. Such types are best if you need something to use only around the house or in places that don’t require you to often transport them in a normal car.
Height and Weight
The height and weight of a walking frame are very important. You need a frame that is not too low so that you don’t have to bend too much to use it.
You need something you can feel very comfortable using. That’s why the height and weight need to be just perfect for you. You can find out if a particular frame is just what you need by trying different options before putting your money down for one.
The handgrip is where you place your hands on the frame while you walk. Some walkers come with handgrips that support the placing of your forearm. This helps if you have a real issue with balance and stability.
You can choose to go with the type that comes with forearm support or the type that doesn’t.
Using a Walking Frame Correctly
The next thing to do after choosing the right type of walker is to learn how to use it. Below is a step by step guide on how to do that.
For clarity purposes, I’ll explain how to use a walker without wheels (static or fixed frames) and follow it up with that of a rollator.
Using a Walking Frame without Wheels
- While you are standing, ensure that your arms are by your side. Your shoulder must be well relaxed to get this right
- If the frame is too high for you, adjust it as it suits you using the buttons meant for that purpose
- After that, hold the frame firmly using both of your hands
- With your two hands firmly holding it, raise the frame a little bit and place it just a small distance from you. Ensure that all four legs of the frame are carefully on the ground
- While you are putting your weight on the frame through your hands, step towards it moving one leg at a time
- Keep going like that until you become used to it. Do not be in a hurry to learn the whole thing in one second. Take your time and get used to it well
Using a Rollator
- Start by engaging the handbrakes on the frame
- Gently stand and remain in that position until you feel balanced and strong enough to start moving forward
- When you feel you have gained enough balance and can start taking small steps forward, gently disengage the brakes
- Keep your eyes forward, not on your walker, and roll the walker gently. Ensure that you don’t roll it too far ahead of you
- Do not put too much stuff in the basket in order not to put too much weight on it. It could affect the balance and may make the walker roll farther than you’d want it to
- To turn corners, you need to move in a wider turning circle instead of just turning on the spot. The same applies for when you want to turn around
- Feel free to ask for help whenever you need one
I’ve explained how to use a walking frame correctly and took out time to explain how to choose the right walker that suits your needs. I hope you find the information provided in this guide useful.