Walker Use

HOW TO TELL IF A WALKER IS THE RIGHT SIZE

  • ExitCare ImageWith your arms hanging at your sides, the walker handles should be at wrist level. If you cannot find the exact fit, choose the height that is most comfortable.

  • If you have been instructed to not place weight on one of your legs, you may feel more comfortable with a shorter height. If you are using the walker for balance, you may prefer a taller height.

  • Adjust the height by using the push buttons on the legs of your walker.

  • In rest position, the back leg of the walkers should be no further ahead than your toes. With your hands resting on the grips, your elbows should be slightly bent at about a 30 degree angle.

  • Ask your physical therapist or caregiver if you have any concerns.

HOW TO USE A STANDARD WALKER (NO WHEELS)

  • ExitCare ImagePick your walker up (do not slide your walker) and place it one step length in front of you. The back legs of the walker should be no further ahead than your toes. You should not feel like you need to lean forward to keep your hands on the grips. As you set the walker down, make sure all 4 leg tips contact the ground at the same time.

  • Hold onto the walker for support and step forward with your weaker leg into the middle of the walker. Follow the weight bearing instructions your caregiver has given you.

  • Push down with your hands and step forward with your stronger leg.

  • Be careful not to let the walker get too far ahead of you as you walk.

  • Repeat the process for each step.

HOW TO USE A FRONT-WHEELED WALKER

  • Slide your walker forward. The back legs of the walker should be no further ahead than your toes. You should not feel like you need to lean forward to keep your hands on the grips.

  • Hold onto the walker for support and step forward with your weaker leg into the middle of the walker. Follow the weight bearing instructions your caregiver has given you.

  • Push down with your hands and step forward with your stronger leg.

  • Be careful not to let the walker get too far ahead of you as you walk.

  • Repeat the process for each step.

  • If your walker does not glide well over carpet, consider cutting an "x" in 2 old tennis balls and placing them over the back legs of your walker.

STANDING UP FROM A CHAIR WITH ARMRESTS

  • ExitCare ImageIt is best to sit in a firm chair with armrests.

  • Position your walker directly in front of your chair. Do not pull on the walker when standing up. It is too unstable to support weight when pulled on.

  • Slide forward in the chair, with your weaker leg ahead and stronger leg bent near the chair.

  • Lean forward and push up from your chair with both hands on the armrests. Straighten your stronger leg, rising to standing. Do not pull yourself up from the walker. This may cause it to tip.

  • When you feel steady on your feet, carefully move one hand at a time to the walker.

  • Stand for a few seconds to stabilize your balance before you start to walk.

STANDING UP FROM A CHAIR WITHOUT ARMRESTS

  • ExitCare ImageIt is best to sit in a firm chair. A low seat or an overstuffed chair or sofa is hard to get out of.

  • Place the walker in front of you. Do not pull on the walker when coming to a standing position.

  • Slide forward in the chair, with your weaker leg ahead and stronger leg bent near the chair.

  • Push down on the chair seat with the hand opposite your weaker leg. Keep your other hand on the center of the walker's crossbar.

  • Stand, steady your balance, and place your hands on the walker handgrips.

SITTING DOWN

  • Always back up toward your chair, using your walker, until you feel the back of your legs touch the chair.

  • If the chair has armrests, carefully reach back to put your hands on the armrests, and slowly lower your weight.

  • If the chair does not have armrests, consider backing up to the side of the chair. You can then hold onto the back of the chair and the front of the seat to slowly lower yourself.

  • You should never feel like you are falling into your chair.

USING A WALKER ON STEPS

  • ExitCare Image Before attempting to use your walker on steps, practice with your physical therapist.

  • If you are going up a step wide enough to accommodate the entire walker and yourself:

  • First, place the walker up on the step.

  • Second, get your feet as close to the step as you can.

  • Third, press down on the walker with your hands as you step up with your stronger leg. Then step up with your weaker leg.

  • If you are going down a step wide enough to accommodate the entire walker and yourself:

  • First, place the walker down on the step.

  • Second, hold onto the walker as you step down with your weaker leg. Then step down with your stronger leg.

  • If you are going up more than 1 step and have a railing:

  • First, turn the walker sideways, so the opening is facing in toward you.

  • Second, place the front 2 legs of the walker on the first step. These front legs should be positioned at the base of the next step.

  • Third, test the steadiness of the walker. It should feel sturdy when you press down on the handgrip that is facing the top of the steps.

  • Finally, placing your weight on the railing and the walker, step up with your stronger leg first. Then step up with your weaker leg.

  • If you are going down more than 1 step and have a railing:

  • First, turn the walker sideways, so the opening is facing in toward you.

  • Second, place the front 2 legs of the walker down on the first step. When possible, the back legs of the walker should be positioned at the base of the previous step.

  • Third, test the steadiness of the walker. It should feel sturdy when you press down on the handgrip that is facing the top of the steps.

  • Finally, placing your weight on the railing and the walker, step down with your weaker leg first. Then step down with your stronger leg.

  • Be sure to check the sturdiness of the walker before each step.

  • Make sure you have good rubber tips on the legs of your walker to prevent it from slipping.