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The Essential Guide to Adjusting Assistive Walking Devices

Updated: Apr 23


 Assistive walking devices are invaluable tools that provide support and enhance mobility for individuals facing challenges with walking. Proper adjustment of these devices is crucial to ensure safety, comfort, and the effectiveness of the aid. Whether it's a walker, cane, or crutches, each device requires careful setup to match the user's specific needs.

 

Understanding Your Device

 

Before making any adjustments, it's important to understand the type of walking aid you have. Walkers, for instance, come in various styles, including standard, front-wheeled, and rollators. Canes also vary, from single-tip to quad-tip, and crutches can be underarm or forearm. Each type serves different mobility needs and will have unique adjustment points.

 

Measuring For The Perfect Fit

 

The general rule for measuring the correct height of walkers and canes is to stand upright with your arms relaxed at your sides. The top of the device should align with the crease of your wrist. When you hold the handle, your elbow should be bent at a comfortable angle, typically around 15 degrees.

 

For crutches, the top should not press into your armpits when standing straight. There should be a gap of about 1.5 to 2 inches. The handgrips should allow your elbows to bend at a comfortable angle when you use them.

 

Making The Adjustments

 

Most walking aids come with push buttons or knobs that allow for height adjustment. It's essential to ensure that all legs or tips of the device are even to prevent wobbling or instability. For wheeled walkers, ensure that the wheels are securely attached and that the brakes (if present) are fully functional before use.

 

Safety Checks And Maintenance

 

Regularly inspect your walking aid for signs of wear and tear. Check for loose screws, worn-out tips, and damaged grips. Replace any worn parts promptly to maintain the device's integrity and your safety.

 

Seeking Professional Advice

 

If you're unsure about adjusting your walking aid, don't hesitate to seek professional advice. One Stop PT’s physical therapists can provide personalized guidance and ensure that your device is correctly fitted to your posture and walking style.

 

Conclusion

 

Properly adjusted assistive walking devices can significantly improve mobility and independence. By taking the time to measure and adjust your device correctly, you can enhance your walking experience and maintain an active lifestyle. Remember, safety comes first, so always prioritize proper fitting and regular maintenance of your walking aid.

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