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Types of Walkers Available

A walker can be a useful tool in maintaining or achieving mobility in the long or short term. A three-sided structure with four legs, a walker can provide some balance and support. For best results, use your walker as instructed and observe all appropriate safety precautions. Discuss any changes in your ability to walk with an appropriate health-care provider.

Standard

A standard walker has rubber tips on the ends of all four legs. It must be picked up and moved as you walk. The frame of a standard walker is typically lightweight metal. If you need significant support, or if you need a walker that can bear significant weight, a standard walker may be your best choice, according to The Savvy Senior.

Rollator

A rolling, or rollator, walker has wheels or casters on the ends of all four legs. These walkers can be rolled forward as you walk. They may be made of heavier metals than standard walkers. Rollators often have hand-operated brakes and may also feature seats for resting.

Two-Wheeled

Featuring wheels only on the two front legs, two-wheeled walkers marry the stability of a standard walker with the ease of movement of a rollator walker. The feet on the rear legs of the walker provide stability as you step forward, bearing your weight without rolling. The wheels on the front legs then allow you to push the walker forward without lifting it.

Considerations

Before you choose a walker, ask your doctor or physical therapist for recommendations based on your needs. Whether you will use your walker primarily indoors, outdoors, or both may influence your purchase decisions. Choose a walker appropriate for your height and weight. Choose grips that are comfortable; larger grips may be a good choice if you have arthritis. Attachments such as a tote bag or tray may make using your walker more enjoyable. Walkers may be covered by health insurance if they are prescribed by a health-care provider.

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About the Author

Stephanie Crumley Hill is a childbirth educator who for more than 20 years has written professionally about pregnancy, family and a variety of health and medical topics. A former print magazine editor, her insurance articles for “Resource” magazine garnered numerous awards. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Georgia.

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