How to Use Walkers

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Just getting started or having some trouble with your walker? This guide will teach you the basics of walker use in a variety of situations, as well as some safety tips to keep in mind to minimize your chance of falling.

Walking

  1. Place the walker slightly ahead of you, leaving enough room for you to take a step. Do NOT take any steps while you’re moving your walker.
  2. Take small steps to catch up with where you’ve placed the walker. Make sure you and the walker are facing the same way, and that your feet are centered behind the walker as you step forward.
  3. Move your walker forward each time you taken a step with both of your legs. Keep the majority of the weight on your legs, using your arms only to stay balanced.

Turning

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  1. Place the walker in the direction you’re trying to go. Remember not to take steps while moving the walker.
  2. Move your feet around until you are facing the same direction as your walker.
  3. Repeat steps 1-2 until you are facing the direction you’d like to go. Remember to turn gradually, taking small steps and moving or pivoting your walker short distances.
  4. Particularly if you have any knee or joint problems, avoid sharp turns that could lead to pressure being placed on your knee or joints through twisting.

Sitting Down

  1. Back up against a chair or your bed until you are directly in front of it and can feel it against the back of your legs.
  2. Push the walker in front of you slightly to give you space to bend forward as you sit.
  3. Reach behind you and place both hands on the chair’s armrests or on the bed if you can reach it to stabilize yourself.
  4. Slowly lower yourself, using your legs as much as possible.
  5. Ease down into the chair or your bed. If you find yourself “plopping” down, try leaning forward a bit more as you ease yourself down to give yourself some more control as you land.

Standing Up

  1. Scoot forward so that you are positioned close to the edge of your bed or a chair, with your feet as close to the floor as possible while still being comfortable.
  2. Using your arms, push up from the bed or the chair’s armrest and gradually shift your bodyweight forward, placing more and more weight on your feet and legs until you are in a standing position. Unless you have an injury or wound to be mindful of, let your legs do most of the work and push with your arms only as much as necessary to start your momentum and keep you balanced.
  3. Grip both sides of your walker firmly with your hands, and move it forward slightly.
  4. If you have an injured or weaker leg, step forward with it first.
  5. As you begin to walk, make sure to keep your legs in the space between the walker’s legs.

Walker Safety Tips

  1. Make sure that your walker is on the ground while you are taking a step. Never take a step while simultaneously moving your walker.
  2. Wait to start sitting until you have turned entirely away from a chair or your bed.
  3. Avoid throw rugs, waxed floors, and wet or otherwise slippery surfaces.
  4. Try to take even steps.
  5. Face the same direction as the walker while turning – don’t twist away from it.
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