Dr. Ken Brummel-Smith: Hi! I'm Dr. Ken Brummel-Smith from the Florida State University College of Medicine and the American Geriatrics Society. Today I'm here at Westminster Oaks, an active living Continuing Care Retirement Community in Tallahassee, Florida. I'm going to be talking to be talking to you today about using a walker.
With the correct fit and some simple instructions on it to use, a walker can help you feel more stable and secure and can give you more freedom and independence. There are number of things that your healthcare provider can do for you. They can help you determine whether a walker is right for you, they can determine what kind of walker best fits to your needs, they can fit your walker to the correct height, and they can show you how to use it safely. There are three kinds of walkers that are used most commonly and they have either two, three or four wheels. Your healthcare provider can help you identify which one is right for you. It's important that the walker you use is the correct height. When you're measured for a walker, be sure to wear the shoes that you wear everyday. Stand inside the frame and allow your arms to hang down loosely by your sides.
The hand grips of the walker should be at the level of your wrist. If you develop pain in your wrist when you're using the walker, have your healthcare provider check to make sure that the fit is correct. Be sure to have the healthcare provider or a trained professional show you how to walk with your walker. When you're ready to walk you roll the walker in front of you and keep close to it. You lean slightly forward and keep the arms of the walker under control.
Regardless of the type of walker that you're using, try not to look down at your feet; using a walker should be just like walking, look ahead. If you're getting up from a chair, don't use the walker for support. Make sure that if you need support you use the arms of the chair. If you have the front-wheel walker which has the two metal legs in the back, make sure that it has a non-skid rubber tip on each leg that will keep you from slipping.
Some people cut a slip in a tennis ball and place them over the back legs of the walker to make it easier to move. Those are just the few of the tips for properly selecting and using a walker.