How to Stop Using a Walker?

Most people begin using a walker at an advanced age when they are struggling with mobility. A walker helps them stay up on their feet, and move around with ease. But what if you want to stop using a walker, and continue waking without external support? In this article, I will share some tips to help you stay off the walker forever. 

When to go from walker to cane?

It is not easy for an elderly person to go from walker to walking without external support such as an assistive device. One clever strategy you can implement is to go from walker to cane and then from cane to walking without it. 

The transitioning from walker to cane takes time for folks who have recently undergone knee replacement surgery. Or someone who is recovering from a broken leg. But for a senior person, the transition can be quicker, especially if they are healthier otherwise.

A senior person using a walker must focus on strengthening the muscles around the hips, ankles, and knees. You must consult a physical therapist with expertise in dealing with older adults. 

The therapist will teach you certain home-based exercises that you must perform religiously. Unfortunately, there’s no shortcut when it comes to getting off a walker in old age. But with some effort and dedication, it can be achieved. 

So when to transition from a walker to a cane? 

You should switch to a cane once you can walk without leaning too much onto the walker. If you are walking with half of your body weight projected onto the walker handle, then maybe this is not the time to switch. You need more rehab work. 

If you are struggling to walk with a walker, but wish to get more exercise outdoors, consider going for one of those walkers that support you in a secure upright position. They help you improve your posture. 

In addition to this, you will also notice that pain in the wrist or neck region has reduced. Switch to a cane once you feel you are pain-free and stronger than before. 

Can exercising help me stop using the walker?

Yes, exercise can help you lose dependence on walkers. Unless you have a serious health condition, you can lose the habit of using a walker and begin walking on your two legs. 

For people with a health condition that prevents them from walking, I recommend consulting a physical therapist as soon as possible (if you haven’t already). Kindly do not self-diagnose, or indulge in self-treatment.

While you are still using a walker, you can begin exercising even with limited mobility. Some exercises can be done without having to stand or move from one place to another. 

It is important to understand that exercising releases certain chemicals in the brain that enhance your mood, raise your confidence levels, and boost the immune system. 

Check out this YouTube video tutorial by Bodylastics. They demonstrate types of exercise are possible with limited mobility.

Furthermore, here are some gentle sitting exercises by the National Health Service (NHS), England.

Final words

Getting rid of the walker can be a freeing experience, but you mustn’t neglect safety. If you are experiencing pain or discomfort while performing sitting exercises recommended by the NHS, pause immediately and consult a physical therapist. Do not overdo your workouts. Keep it brief initially and work your way up as you become stronger. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *