Tips for choosing and using walkers – Mayo Clinic News Network

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A walker can make it easier to get around after surgery or after a bone break in your foot or leg. A walker also can help if you have balance problems, arthritis, leg weakness or leg instability. A walker allows you to keep weight off your feet and legs as you move.
Talk to your doctor, physical therapist or another member of your health care team about the type of walker that’s right for you. Options include:
Most walkers come with plastic grips, but there are other choices too. You might consider foam grips or soft grip covers, especially if your hands tend to get sweaty. If you have trouble grasping with your fingers, you might like a larger grip. Choosing the correct grip eases stress on your joints. Whichever grip you choose, be sure the grip is secure so that it won’t slip while you’re using the walker.
Adjust your walker so that it fits your arms comfortably. This eases stress on your shoulders and back. To tell if your walker is the right height, step inside your walker and:
If you need to place weight on the walker as you move, start by putting the walker about one step ahead of you. Keep your back upright. Don’t hunch over the walker.
Next, if one of your legs is injured or weaker than the other, put that leg into the middle area of the walker first. Keep your foot behind the front legs of the walker. If you step too far forward, you could lose your balance. Keep the walker still as you step in.
Finally, push straight down on the grips of the walker to support your weight as you bring your other leg forward. Repeat the process by moving your walker forward and stepping into it one leg at a time.
Follow these safety tips when you use a walker:
Options and accessories can make your walker easier to use. For example:
Whatever walker you choose, don’t overload it. And make sure to keep it in good working order. Worn-out or loose rubber caps or grips can raise the risk of falling. Brakes that are too loose or too tight also may raise the risk of falling. For help maintaining a walker, talk to your doctor, physical therapist or another member of your health care team.
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