Most hip replacement patients will only use a walker or Zimmer frame for a day or two and then only in the hospital where they underwent surgery. After that the nurses will be encouraging you to move on to crutches and later a walking stick or cane.
So the vast majority of you can skip this page! I'm including it here for those of you who are may need to continue using a walker or frame for a longer period of time.
A Zimmer Frame or walker is made of a lightweight material that combines maximum stability with ease of movement. They are extremely stable and ideal for someone who has significant balance issues.
A wheeled walker or Rollator is much the same but with wheels on! Both a 3 wheeled walker and a 4 wheeled walker are available. Wheeled walkers or Rollators are easier to use and allow the user to walk at a faster pace. However you must be well balanced in order to use one as they can easily roll away.
Accessories can be obtained for all these frames. These include trays for carrying food and drinks or a seat for taking a rest. The wheeled versions often come with a built in basket to carry smallish amounts of shopping.
Whoever supplies you with the frame should make sure it is correctly adjusted for you. Basically the top of the walker should be at the level of the crease in your wrist. Once set it shouldn't need to be adjusted.
You must use the grips in the way the manufacturer intended. This is to ensure correct weight distribution and balance.
Start off by pushing the walker forward keeping your back straight (this helps ensure you don't push it too far!). Now step into the walker one leg at a time. Repeat!
Go slowly. Don't move the frame any further than necessary. If you find yourself leaning forward - especially bending at the waist or hips you've pushed it too far. Bring it back towards you and let your feet catch up with the frame before moving on again. Slowly!
Take small steps when you turn.
When you start using your mobility aid outdoors make sure that the ground is even. There are a lot of potholes in pavements.
Don't try to use a walker, Zimmer frame, Rollator or wheeled walker on the stairs (or on an escalator). Ideally you should have a separate one for each level of your home and can then use a stick and the banister for tackling the stairs. If you only have access to one than ask a helper to carry it on the stairs.
To sit - make sure you are standing directly in front of the chair with the back of your legs touching it. Check the brakes are on if you're using a wheeled walking aid. Move your hands to the arms of the chair and lower yourself down.
To stand - make sure that the walker is placed directly in front of the chair and is reachable. If you are using a Rollator or wheeled walker make sure the brakes are on. Using the arms of the chair push up with both hands until you are able to stand. Transfer your hands to the grips. Steady yourself before moving on.
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