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Discharge Instructions: Using a Walker

Your healthcare provider has prescribed a walker for you. To use your walker, you need to learn a new way to walk (gait). Your healthcare provider may tell you to use either a non-weight-bearing gait. This means putting no weight on 1 leg and foot. Or you may be told to use a weight-bearing gait. This means putting weight on both legs and feet.

Guidelines for use

Here are some general tips: 

  • Remove small rugs, electrical cords, and anything else that may cause you to fall.

  • Arrange your household to keep the items you need handy. Keep everything else out of the way.

  • Use a backpack, fanny pack, apron, or pockets to carry things so you keep your hands free.

Non-weight-bearing gait

To walk with this method:

  • Hold your injured (weaker) foot off the floor.

  • Lift the walker (roll it if you’re using a wheeled walker).

  • Move the walker 1 step or a few inches ahead of you.

  • Support your weight with your hands by gripping the top of the walker.

  • Swing your good (stronger) foot forward to the center or middle of the walker.

  • Repeat the process.

Weight-bearing gait

To walk with this method:

  • Lift the walker (roll it if you're using a wheeled walker).

  • Move the walker 1 step or a few inches ahead of you.

  • Support your weight with your hands by gripping the top of the walker.

  • Step forward to the center or middle of the walker with your injured leg, new joint, or weaker side first. When taking a step, don't step all the way to the front of the walker.

  • Use the walker to help you keep your balance as you take the step.

  • Bring your other foot forward to the center of the walker.

  • Repeat the process.

© 2000-2020 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.