Mobility walkers are walking aids that provide a frame to hold onto for extra balance and support to assist people while they are moving about. Mobility walkers come in all designs, shapes and sizes and so, it may be challenging when it comes to choosing and buying the right one. The following outlines the different types of mobility walkers and when you would use them.
WALKERS AND ROLLATORS
The basic walker/rollator design features a sturdy hand-held frame with four wheels, the frame is pushed across the ground by the user as they walk. The purpose of a walker/rollator is to provide additional support, stability and balance to the user who may have trouble walking or is prone to falling. The wheels allow the walker/rollator to glide across the ground with more ease and don’t require the walker/rollator to be picked up off the ground to move. Many of these walkers/rollators feature carry baskets and seats. The carry baskets are a great way to carry shopping, books or items around the house. The in-built seats allow the user to take breaks while walking permitting users to venture out their houses and into the community.
As these walkers/rollators require the user to push them, it is important that the user has sufficient hand and arm strength to support themselves and hold the frame.
Knee walkers are another type of walker/rollator used as a short-term alternative to crutches. These knee walkers are best suited to people who have had foot or ankle injuries or who struggle to weight bear on the affected area. In this design, the user bends one of their knees and rests their shin on a small, comfortable platform while they use their other foot to make contact with the ground and propel themselves forward. This design allows the user to take weight off their affected side as it rests.
Walkers and rollators are a great mobility aid to help people move about in the community as well as within their own homes without the worry of falling over and hurting themselves.
Walking frames are hand-held frames that also provide additional support, stability and balance to the user. Walking frames are a less manoeuvrable frame which feature two- or four-fixed feet. Walking frames are designed for the user to lift and move forward as they walk providing stability and support. A walking frame is better suited to a user who is still unstable using a walker/rollator and needs a more sturdy, fixed support to prevent them falling; this may be someone who will roll forward with a walker/rollator instead of maintaining their balance and stability as they walk. Walking frames are generally lightweight and can have a foldable design allowing easy transportation and use in a lot of different environments.
Walking frames require more strength and coordination to use than walkers/rollators, it is important for the user to have enough strength and coordination of their arms, wrists and hands to be able to use the walking frames safely.
Forearm walkers provide a much-needed supportive frame for users who are unbalanced yet not able to push a walker/rollator or lift a walking frame. These walkers are ideal for users who do not have ample hand and wrist strength but who still require extra support while walking. Forearm walkers are designed to have a larger, taller frame with two forearm supports, called gutters, accompanied by supporting hand-grips. The user is required to rest their forearms in the gutters and hold onto the hand-grips to maintain their posture and stability. These frames sit atop two- or four-wheels offering mobility and manoeuvrability. Some forearm walkers feature a chest rest which fits into the frame and supports upper body weight further assisting the user with their walking.
Forearm walkers are very practical for users with limited hand and wrist strength and provide a great alternative to using walkers/rollators and walking frames where the user is unable to do so.
It is important to note that each mobility walker is best suited for different individuals, it is advised to consult with a GP, Physiotherapist and/or Occupational Therapist before choosing a mobility walker as well as when fitting a mobility walker. This will help reduce the possibility of injuries and misuse. For any further questions or information visit the Safety and Mobility website or contact our staff.