Tips on how to avoid a hunched over posture when using your mobility aid
We have all seen it, the hunched over Rollator or Walker user. Walking around with their head pointing down to the ground, arms are almost straight out in front of their body, and the Rollator or Walker is very far away from the user's body.
Learning how to use a Rollator or Walker correctly takes some time and practice. These movements do not always come naturally, but is it important to ensure you are using your Rollator or Walker correctly. Incorrect use can increase the users risk of falling or cause more aches and pains in the shoulders, neck, or back. So why are people walking this way?
The main reason why this might be happening is because the handle height of the mobility aid is not set up correctly for the user’s height. If the handles are not set at the appropriate height, where the elbows are slightly bent and shoulders are relaxed, the user could adapt by walking incorrectly with their mobility aid as depicted in the image above. This will in turn increase the likelihood of falls, as the Rollator or Walker is not supporting the client or helping with their balance issue. There will also be an increase in stress that is being put on the shoulders, neck, and back. Over time this will lead to more aches, pains, and poor mobility in the future. Lucky for you, it is very easy to check if the handle height is set up correctly for the user! Just follow these easy steps:
- Stand inside your Walker or Rollator handles, holding a comfortable stance with your arms hanging loosely at your sides. Use the assistance from a friend if required.
- With your arms relaxed, the handle height should be level with your wrists. If not adjust accordingly
- Alternatively, measure the distance from the floor to your wrist. This is how high from the ground your hand grips (handles) should be.
- With shoulders relaxed, place your hands on the hand grips and check to make sure your elbows are slightly bent at a comfortable angle (about 15-20 degrees)
- Lastly, ensure your Rollator or Walker is level.
- This is especially important on 2 wheeled or 4 point walkers (seen above), where all 4 legs are adjustable. If you are using two wheels on the front of your walker, ensure that the back of the walker is level with the front.
Now that you know the handle height is set correctly, what other steps should you take to walk safely? (Pun intended!)
Follow these simple tips to ensure you are using your Rollator or Walker properly. This will help avoid pain or aches and keep you walking safely with your mobility aid! You will also notice yourself always have a nice tall posture when walking.
Walk with your mobility aid, don’t let it walk you! Walk inside the Rollator or Walker, rather than pushing in in front of you. Gently push the mobility aid ahead as you walk with it. Do not let it get too far away from your body.
- Keep your head up, and eyes looking forward: Look ahead of where you are walking to anticipate uneven surfaces, hazards, or inclines.
- Slow and steady wins the race: Keep a nice leisurely pace with even strides. Do not walk too fast as the mobility aid might end up too far in front of your body.
- Use the brakes to slow down when needed: Gently squeeze brakes, just like a bicycle, to slow down when doing down inclines or if the walker is getting too far away from your body.
- General maintenance: Just like a car, you want to keep your walker clean and check functions regularly. If you are unsure what to look for click here to check out our helpful article about rollator maintenance.
- Practice makes perfect! Keep walking and practicing good walker posture