Before you buy a walker, consider the points listed below:
- If you need a walker for outdoor use you need to consider safe access in and out of your home and the terrain and gradients you will be on.
- If your walker is for indoor use then you will need to consider door and corridor widths, door thresholds, rugs and carpets for safe access.
- 3-wheeled walkers are also available but are not as stable as 4-wheeled models and most of them do not have a seat. The rear width of the 3-wheeled models is wider than most 4-wheeled models.
- 4-wheeled walkers have brakes and a seat. Lightweight walkers may be convenient for transportation but heavier models are more stable.
- Seats may be padded, firm or made of canvas, some seats will be height-adjustable. Most have integral or optional backrests.
- Walkers fold front to back or sideways for transportation and storage.
- The wheels are usually at least 6 inches in diameter, adequate for smooth paths; larger wheels are preferable for uneven ground.
- Basket, bags and brackets to hold crutches etc. are available.
- The cable brakes on the walker are just designed to slow the pace down and to give some security when sitting down. Some have sprung brakes to automatically secure the wheels when you sit. Some have brakes for one-handed use. Additional ‘slow down’ brakes may be available.
- The correct handle height ensures the walker provides good support when walking. You should be able to maintain an upright position, when standing within the wheel base, holding the handles with elbows slightly bent. If unsure, ask someone to measure for you when standing upright with arms loosely by your side, measure from floor to wrist crease. Adjust the handle height to match this measurement.
- For stability it is important to walk ‘within’ the wheel base and not push the walker too far ahead of you when walking.
- Check maximum user weight on the walker.
- When purchasing a walker check if the supplier can repair.
- Make sure you have user instructions for safe use and folding.
- Walkers are also available with forearm or platform arm supports.
Standard walkers are priced from £90
Heavy duty or specialist walkers may be £200-£400