At first glance, a walker or rollator may seem like a pretty basic piece of equipment; however, bearing in mind the physical condition of those who need to use one, safety considerations come to mind. Beyond the obvious concerns of the areas you’ll be using your walker in, the physical condition of the actual user must also be assessed.
While less portable and versatile, walkers become a better option when a cane no longer offers enough balance support. A walker can help improve balance, relieve leg pain, compensate for weakness in a hip, leg or foot, or decrease the overall load on one or both legs.
There are three types of walker: the standard, or pickup walker, is the most stable; the two-wheeled walker offers less stability but is easier to maneuver; and the rollator, with four wheels, is primarily used to help with balance. A walker can also be a better choice if the user needs assistance transporting items, or needs to sit periodically.
The first consideration in using a walker is if the user has enough upper body strength, coordination, and handgrip to control the walker carefully. When it’s been determined a viable option, users must come to know the basics of safe use:
- For wheeled units, always ensure the brake is locked when using it to support your weight before standing or sitting down.
- When using the walker, your back should remain straight, with eyes looking ahead, which will allow you to see any obstacles that might be ahead.
- Keep the unit close to your body for the most support.
- Extra care should be taken when rising from a sitting position—after standing, wait a few moments before walking, to let any dizziness or lightheadedness pass.
- Never use a walker on stairs—use an elevator or ask for help instead.
When a patient is dependent on a walking aid to get where they want to go, it’s imperative to be both correctly fitted to the device, and to have the product that best suited to their needs. Whether using a rollator, a walker or a cane, Symbius Medical offers a variety of products to fit anyone’s needs, from youth to adult and bariatric. We specialize in and carry a variety of walkers and rollators from leading manufacturers. At Symbius Medical, we believe the right thing for you is the right thing for us. Contact us today to learn more about our services and resources.