How to Choose a Walker
5 Tips on Choosing a Walker
- What do you need the most help with? The type of walker you choose will depend on your needs. A standard walker with no wheels will offer the most support and stability. It should mainly be used indoors or for short distances because the walking pace is slowed down significantly and lifting the walker repeatedly may get tiring. Although two-wheel walkers offer less support and stability than standard walkers, they are still quite effective and more stable than rollators. A two-wheel walker allows you to maintain a more natural gait.
- Fit of the walker. Before you purchase a walker, you need to make sure it can accommodate your height and weight. To do this, you need to be measured properly. For the handle height:
- Stand up straight with your arms hanging naturally at your sides.
- Have a friend measure from the floor to the crease of your inner wrist.
Your elbows should be at a 15-degree angle when holding on to the grips of the walker with your shoulders and arms relaxed. Make sure the walker will be able to support your weight by checking the listed weight capacity. It is a good idea to make a trip to your local walker supplier to get measured properly and try out different models.
- Where will you be using the walker primarily? A standard walker is good for use in the home and a two-wheel walker is a better option to use outdoors.
- Grips. Having the right grips for your hands will make a big difference in how comfortable the walker will be for you to use. Most walkers come with plastic grips, but if you have hands that tend to sweat, a softer grip may be preferable. People with arthritis or other grasping ailments may benefit from larger grips. Speak to an occupational therapist for advice on the grips that would be the most comfortable for you.
- Portability and storage. If you live in a small home or travel in a car regularly, you may prefer a walker that folds easily. Some walkers have one button, two buttons, paddle or trigger folding mechanisms that are easy to use, even for people with weaker hands. Make sure that when you unfold the walker, the locks engage to keep the walker in the open position (with most folding walkers you should hear or feel it “click,” if not, give it a quick test to make sure it is locked in place). For travel in a car, you will have to be able to fold and lift the walker to place it in the trunk.