A walking frame can provide stability, safety and independence for an enormous amount of people who have limited mobility. What is a relatively simple concept has the ability to make a significant positive impact on a person’s daily life. However, using a walking frame incorrectly can mean you aren’t getting its full benefits. To make sure get the most out of your walking frame here are some tips about what you might need to do.
Choosing the Walking Frame
If you’re yet to buy yourself a walking frame but are looking to do so it’s important to get the right product for your needs. There are a few major areas found in walking frames that you should prioritise:
Wheels – Whether or not you choose a model that has wheels depends on your level of strength and mobility.
If, for example, you have decent upper body strength and lift your feet entirely off the ground with each step you will probably not need wheels. Instead, choose a frame with only feet as this will keep you more physically engaged as you walk along and lift the frame with each step.
However, if you tend to shuffle more and find it difficult to lift your feet then a model with wheels on the front legs may be a better choice. This reduces the amount you have to lift the frame as you can tilt it forward and push it along. This is also better if you have very low upper body strength.
Special Features – Although the vast majority of walking frames are simple box frame shapes there are a few with special features to help with particular requirements.
For example, the Deluxe Duo has a unique multi-level shape to help standing from a chair. The lower handles can be used to hoist yourself up, then transfer yourself onto the upper handles.
Another model with special features is the Drive Clever Walker. This particular product has a small seat in between the bars and a strap that acts as a backrest. This is useful if you tire easily or unexpectedly and require a minute to catch your breath.
Set it to the Right Height
Setting your frame to the right height is the most crucial part of getting the full benefit from it. By setting it too low it could cause back pain from stooping or even wrist, arm and shoulder pain from shifting too much weight forward through your upper body. If you set it too high the frame will not take enough of the strain of walking away from you or it could even cause you to topple backwards if you have poor balance.
- Stand in the centre of the frame
- Place the inside of your wrist on the outside of the handles – they should be at the height of the very top of your wrist
- If necessary, adjust each leg of the frame so that it sits level and at the height described above: if the handles are angled the highest point should touch the top of your wrist
- Test the height out by going for a short walk
- If you feel you are stooping too far or are leaning back, adjust the height of each leg by a notch in the right direction and see if that improves it.
By following this simple guide you’ll be able to get the right product for you at the right height, helping get the most out of it.