Using a Walker

Using a Walker

 

Walking with a walker

  1. Lift the walker and place it at a comfortable distance in front of you with all of its legs on the floor. This distance is often equal to an arm’s length.
  2. Move your injured or weak leg toward the walker first. If you had surgery to both legs, use either leg to begin walking.
  3. Then take a step with your good leg, bringing it slightly ahead of the injured or weak leg.
  4. Repeat steps 1 to 3.
Walking with a walker

Safety tips

  • Do not step too close to the walker because you may lose your balance. There should be space between you and the walker at all times.
  • Hold your head up and look straight ahead. Do not watch your feet. It is more tiring and you may run into something.
  • Walk slowly.

Sitting with a walker

  1. Slowly back up to the chair, bed, or toilet until you feel it against the back of your legs.
  2. Let go of the walker and reach back for the chair arm, bed, or toilet seat, while sliding your injured or weak leg forward.
  3. Slowly lower yourself onto the seat by leaning forward and keeping your injured or weak leg straight out in front of you. Go slowly, so you do not “plop” into the chair.If you had surgery on both legs, place both hands on the chair arm, bed or commode seat. Lower yourself to the seat and slowly walk both legs forward

Sitting down with walker steps

Stairs with a walker

Do not use your walker on stairs unless your physical therapist has instructed you and practiced this with you. Have someone help you on the stairs until you feel comfortable. You should always have a sturdy handrail. Start with your good leg going up, and start with your injured or weak leg going down. Remember - "Up with the good! Down with the bad!"

Going Up Stairs

  1. Walk up to the stairs and place your feet about 6 inches from the first step.
  2. Fold the walker and place it in one hand. Place the other hand on the rail.
  3. Lift the folded walker and set it to the back of the step. Step up with your good leg.
    Going up stairs starting
  4. Bring up your injured or weak leg.
  5. At the top of the stairs, unfold the walker and set it on the landing. Make sure that you hear the walker click into the locked position. Place both hands on the walker.
  6. Step up first with your good leg, and then bring up your injured or weak leg.

Going up stairs with walker ending

Going down stairs with a walker

  1. Walk up to the stairs and place your walker about 2 inches from the top step.
  2. Fold the walker and place it in one hand. Place the other hand on the rail.
  3. Set the folded walker down and to the front edge of the step.
    Walking down stairs with walker
     
  4. Step down first with your injured or weak leg, and then bring down your good leg.
  5. At the bottom of the stairs, unfold the walker and set it on the landing. Make sure you hear the walker click into the locked position.
  6. Place both hands on the walker. Step down first with your injured or weak leg, and then with your good leg.

Going down stairs with walker last steps

Going up a curb with a walker

Forward method

  1. Walk up to the curb. Put all 4 legs of the walker up on the curb.
  2. Push straight down on the walker when stepping up with your good leg.
  3. Then step up with your injured or weak leg.

Going up curb with walker

Backward method

  1. Walk up to the curb and turn so your back is to the curb.
  2. Step up on the curb with your good leg. Then step up on the curb with your injured or weak leg.
  3. Lift the walker and put all 4 legs up on the curb. Turn back around carefully.

GFoing up curb with walker backwards

Going down a curb

  1. Walk up to the edge of the curb. Put all 4 legs of the walker on the ground below.
  2. Step down first with your injured or weak leg, and then bring down your good leg.

Never go down a curb backwards.

Going down a curb with walker

Weight bearing using a walker

Follow the directions as checked for your injured or weak leg.

____ Non-weight bearing

For this method, do not let your injured or weak leg touch the floor when standing or walking. When using the walker, hold your injured or weak leg up off the floor.

  • Move your walker out in front of you. Be sure all 4 legs of your walker are flat on the floor.
  • While pushing down on the walker with your arms, hop on your good foot to the center of the walker.

____Touch down weight bearing

Touch the ball of your foot to the floor to help your balance, but do not put your weight on it.

  • Move your walker out in front of you about an arm’s length. Be sure all 4 legs of the walker are flat on the floor.
  • Move your injured or weak leg forward into the walker, only touching the ball of your foot to the floor.
  • While pushing down on your walker with your arms to take weight off your injured or weak leg, step your good leg forward into the center of the walker.

____ Partial weight bearing

For this method, you will be told how much weight you can put on the injured or weak leg.

  • Move your walker out in front of you about an arm’s length. Be sure all 4 legs of the walker are flat on the floor.
  • Step your injured or weak leg into the walker, only putting the allowed weight on that leg.
  • While pushing down on your walker with your arms to keep some weight off of your leg, step your good leg forward into the center of the walker.

____ Weight bearing as tolerated

For this method, put as much weight on the injured or weak leg as you are able to without much pain. The walker helps give you some support and balance.

 

© 2004– July 1, 2019. The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

This handout is for informational purposes only. Talk with your doctor or healthcare team if you have any questions about your care. For more health information call the Library for Health Information at 614-293-3707 or email: health-info@osu.edu.