– Problems with balance or mobility can make it dangerous, difficult or even impossible to stand and walk on your own. Walkers are among the most common mobility aids prescribed by doctors and physical therapists because they are designed to help stabilize you while still allowing you to get around independently. At drugstore.com, we have a wide array of walkers in a variety of styles, so it's easy to find the best option for you.
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Typically, walkers have zero, two, or four wheels. In order to choose the best model for your individual needs, you need to find the right balance between stability and mobility. If stability is your number one concern, you might prefer a walker with no wheels because these devices are the sturdiest. The tradeoff, however, is that a basic walker needs to be picked up and moved forward with every few steps, which can make it more difficult to use if you are less mobile.
Two Wheeled Walker
Walkers with two wheels (typically on the front of the device) allow you to lean some of your weight on the walker to push it forward while the two legs without wheels keep you stable. Since the wheels usually don't pivot from side to side, standard two-wheeled walkers should mostly be used on even terrain.
Four Wheeled Walker
If your mobility issues tend to relate more to stamina and a need for extra support, then a four-wheeled walker (also sometimes known as a rollator) might be your best option. These walkers are easy to push along without needing to pick them up, which makes them perfect for individuals without the upper body strength or balance necessary to lift the device with each step. Walkers with four wheels are equipped with handbrakes that make them more stable when you wish to come to a stop. Many also feature a seat that you can use if you need to take a break from walking. Rollators are typically a little heavier than standard walkers, which might make them more difficult to transport in your car, but many models can still be folded up for increased portability.
Fitting and Using Your Walker
Once you've chosen the right walker, it's important to adjust its height so that it fits you correctly. When standing inside the walker with your arms by your sides, the walker grips should be in line with the inside creases of your wrists. When you hold onto the walker, your elbows should be bent at about a 15-degree angle. After you've gotten the fit right, you can learn how to use the walker by pushing it forward (or lifting it up and putting it down slightly ahead of you if it doesn't have wheels). Keeping your back upright, put some of your weight onto the handgrips and then step into the walker one foot at a time. Repeat this process, making sure that you don't try to move too quickly.
If you're having trouble getting around, a walker might be all you need to improve your balance. Talk with your physical therapist or health care provider. Then browse the options available from drugstore.com.