How To Use a Walker Safely

NOTE: It is NOT safe to use a walker to go up or down more than one step. You need to hold onto the hand railing AND have someone assist you. If you are not strong enough or do not feel safe, sit on your bottom and push with your arms to go up and down the steps (unless you have surgical precautions that do not allow you to do this).

Reminders

  • Walk slowly and carefully
  • Put _______ % of your weight on your weaker leg (check with your caregiver)
  • Have someone walk with you your first few days until you feel steady on your feet, especially when you go up and down steps or are on uneven surfaces
  • To adjust the walker, stand with your arms hanging at your side and adjust the height so the hand grips are at wrist level; when you place your hands on the walker, your elbows should be bent slightly (about 30 degrees); if your elbows are bent too little or too much, it will be more difficult to use the walker
  • Prepare the floors; remove loose rugs and small objects that can cause tripping, such as phone cords or footstools

Standing Up

  • Position your walker directly in front of you
  • Scoot to the front of your chair
  • If the chair you are sitting on has arm rests, put your hands on the arm rests to stand up; if the chair does not have arm rests, put your hands at each side of the chair seat and push up
  • Lean forward and stand up; maintain your weight-bearing status as you stand
  • When you are balanced on your feet, put your hands on the walker

Walking

  • Place the walker a comfortable distance in front of you
  • After all four legs of the walker are on the floor, first step with your weaker foot and then step with your strong foot (do not step ahead of the walker)
  • Only put as much weight on your weaker foot as your doctor and therapist have told you (if you are not supposed to put any weight on your weaker leg, hold your weaker leg up off the floor and hop forward on your stronger leg)

Going Up One Step 

  • This needs to be done while you are facing backwards
  • Back yourself with your walker up to the step; be sure the back of your walker and your feet are touching the step
  • Push down on the walker with your arms; step back and up on the step with your strong foot
  • Bring your weaker foot up on the step
  • Bring your walker up on the step
  • Walk backwards with the walker a few steps, and then turn around with the walker

Going Down One Step

  • This needs to be done while you are facing forwards

  • Walk with your walker up to the edge of the step

  • Place the walker down on the floor in front of the step

  • Walk your feet up to the edge of the step

  • Push down on the walker with your arms and step down with your weaker foot and then step down with your stronger foot 

 

Disclaimer: TEXT This material provides general information only. It should not be used in place of the advice, instructions, or treatment given by your doctor or other health care professional.