How to Use a Walker


Technical Assistance – Using a Walker

  If the user has had total knee or hip joint replacement surgery, or has another significant problem, he/she may need more help with balance and walking than is provided by crutches or a cane. A pickup walker with four solid legs on the bottom may offer the most stability. As steps are taken, the walker takes some or all of the weight from the lower body. The arms support some of the weight. The top of the walker should match the crease in the wrist when standing straight. The user should not hurry when using the walker. As strength and endurance improve, he/she may gradually be able to carry more weight in the legs.

The physician will decide, depending on the circumstances, whether the user should have a walker with wheels or slides.


First, put the walker about one step out front, making sure the legs of the walker are level to the ground. With both hands, grip the top of the walker for support and walk into it, stepping off on the injured leg. Touch the heel of this foot to the ground first, then flatten the foot and finally lift the toes off the ground and complete the step with the good leg. Don't step all the way to the front bar of the walker. Take small steps when turning.


To sit, back up until the legs touch the chair. Reach back to feel the seat before sitting. To get up from a chair, push up and grasp the walker's grips. Make sure the rubber tips on the walker's legs stay in good shape.


Never try to climb stairs or use an escalator with the walker.



“How to Use Crutches, Canes and Walkers,” American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Retrieved December 10, 2007, from


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This work is supported under a five-year cooperative agreement # H235V060016 awarded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, and is administered by the Pass It On Center of the Georgia Department of Labor – Tools for Life.  However, the contents of this publication do not necessarily represent the policy or opinions of the Department of Education, or the Georgia Department of Labor, and you should not assume endorsements of this document by the Federal government or the Georgia Department of Labor.



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Other Information

Title: How to Use a Walker
Module: User Services
Author: Trish Redmon
Audience: Consumer
Sub Title:
Procedure: Technical assistance, User training
Organization Source: Pass It On Center
Last Reviewed: 10-25-2009 7:27 PM