What Do You Need To Know About The Differences Between Walking Frames And Walkers?
You often hear about walking frames and walkers, and a lot of people tend to think that they are the same thing. The reason for this is that the differences are not often highlighted, leading people to believe that they are one and the same. However, there are in fact some big differences that need to be addressed and will make one more suitable for a certain type of person over another. In this article, we are going to be looking at some of the main differences between the two so that you can make an informed decision about which of these you should purchase. If you would like to know more about this topic, keep reading down below to find the information that you need.
What Are Walking Frames?
A walking frame will provide an individual with additional support if they are having issues with stability and balance. This is a great choice for individuals who are likely to fall over because it ensures that they get the support needed for their body weight. Usually, walking frames will have four legs that keep contact with the ground when individuals are moving around. An individual will need to have arm strength to use these devices. So, they won’t be suitable for individuals who have weakness in the arms. They are also more suitable for use indoors and over short distances compared to being used across a large distance outside.
What Are Walkers?
In certain cases walkers can be better than walking frames because they provide more manoeuvrability. This means that they will provide a greater level of balance for individuals who do need to support when walking. They come in a range of types and sizes. The specific type needed will usually depend on the difficulties and issues that an individual is experiencing.
They tend to be lightweight and can either have three or four wheels. They can also have various different braking systems. This could either be a bike like lever or something similar to a push down handle. They also tend to be foldable so you can easily store them in different places such as a cupboard or even the back of a car.
What Do They Do?
Since walkers are on wheels, they can be moved forward to allow an individual with mobility issues the strength, balance and support that they need to move around. They do not need to be lifted and instead can be moved around more easily. They tend to be used by individuals who are recovering from a leg injury or who have long term health issues that are impacting their mobility.
What Are The Key Differences?
There are a few key differences between walkers and frames. Understanding the differences will help guarantee that you do make the right choice here. Walking frames have a solid design and have four legs. These will need to be lifted. In contrast walkers can be pushed around and don’t weigh as much.
Due to this, walking frames will be used by people who need more stability and balance. Using this device is going to be quite a slow process. The frame has to be lifted up each time an individual takes a step. Walkers on the other hand are more suitable for people who have great balance but do still need extra support when moving around. The big factor to be aware of is that if you are using a walker, then you need to be able to operate the brakes. That said, walkers provide more speed and are easier to maneuver because the wheels turn. The only way to change direction with a walking frame is to lift it and manually move it into the right position.
Which Is Best For You?
Again, this is going to depend on your physical health. If you are going to use a walker, then you need to make sure that you have the motor control to operate the brakes. If you use a walking frame, then you need the upper arm strength to lift the device each time you take a step. Speed is another consideration. If you want an agile choice, then a walker is always going to be the best option. There’s no stop and start motion with this device. You will be able to move around freely and it’s particularly useful if you are moving around on long distances.
Your physical therapist or doctor will be able to provide you information here and ensure that you make the right choice for you.
What To Consider When Choosing Between Them
There are two important factors to consider when you are going to be choosing between a walking frame and a walker. The first is portability. You need to think about how portable the walking frame or walker is based on your needs. Are you going to be traveling to places constantly, meaning that it needs to be packed up into the car? This will help you determine which is best for you because if you are going to be traveling constantly then the obvious choice is to choose whichever will be easier to transport with you. It is also going to prevent damage to the device if you make sure it is easy to store and move.
Upper body strength is one of the most important factors when you think about which one is right for you. With a walking frame, you will constantly need to lift and move the device with each step. While you do not have to lift them too far off the ground, this will still tire you out quickly if you don’t have the strength. Walkers on the other hand are far easier because you can simply push them around. They are also significantly lighter and this means that you can use them for greater distances.
But, you should also consider how long you can walk for. If you need to sit down constantly, then a walker is going to be the better option. However, walking frames are better for people who get tired when standing constantly.
Using A Walking Frame
Do not use your walking frame to get up unless you are 100% sure that it is stable. If you put too much weight on the back of the walking frame then it is going to tip over, taking you along with it which is not what you need.
To use the walking frame, the first thing that you need to do is stand up straight with your feet together and make sure that you are holding onto the frame with both hands. From there, you should lift the frame forward a small distance and then put it down, ensuring that all four of the tips are on the ground properly. Use one leg to stop forward, using the frame to take the weight, and then move your other leg next to it.
Make sure that you are not stepping too far forward. You don’t want to try and do too much, only to end up making the walking more difficult for yourself. If it helps, use the back two legs as your reference point, and do not put your heels in front of this at any given time.
Using A Walker
If you are getting ready to stand up, then the first thing you need to do is engage the brakes. Then, you need to move forward and sit as close to the edge of the chair as you possibly can so that you are in a more comfortable position to get up. Ideally, your feet need to be as near under you as you can get them, with your toes directly below the edge of the chair. Do not try to get up until you have both of your hands on the arms of your chair. Or, have one hand on the walker and one on the chair, but you’ve got to be careful that you don’t put too much weight on one side otherwise it will tip when you go to stand up.
Once you are in this position, you should learn forward until you feel some of your weight on your feet. You want to lift yourself up using your legs as much as you can, and only let your arm hold up whatever your legs can’t do. Your arms should be used for balance rather than actually getting up, which is why your legs are super important to the process. Don’t try to move too fast because you might not be balanced properly, and then you will end up falling. As soon as you’re up and stable, you can disengage the brakes and start going.
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding as to what you need to know about the differences between walking frames and walkers. Now, you should be able to make an informed decision about which is going to be best for you based on your individual walking needs. It’s important that you put a lot of thought into which device you choose to aid you when walking so that you get the best experience possible.