Here at Jlinks we often see people using their walking aids in all manner of interesting ways. some of which can turn an object that is supposed to help you into one which can be a trip hazard! Walking aids are anything which help you to walk, for example, crutches, sticks, zimmer frames and the outdoor walking aids with three or four wheels.
Here are some top tips for ensuring your walking aid is safe:
1) Check your ferrules - these are the rubber things at the end of the 'legs'. They should still have some grip. If they are worn through they should be changed. Replacements are easily available through most mobility shops and some pharmacies. See our 'dead ferrules' picture at the bottom for some examples of ferrules that should be replaced! We collected these at a recent event we attended, replacing worn ferrules with new ones.
2) Is it the right height? There is no uniform way to measure for the height of a walking aid- it depends on whether you need it to help you to redistribute weight or for balance or both. It should assist you to stand straight. Ideally it should be fitted by a physiotherapist who can assess you and your walking aid together and make sure you are working in perfect harmony!
4) Watch the flooring! Loose rungs and threadbare areas of carpet can catch the bottom of your frame. Keep rugs and carpets taped down.
5) Not designed for wet surfaces! Most walking aids are designed to be used on dry floors. Take great care in areas where spillages may occur such as kitchens and bathrooms.
6) Do not try and carry your zimmer frame upstairs! We have seen this on more than one occasion and it's not pretty! If necessary, you should have one upstairs and one downstairs.
7) Use it properly! We see people using their zimmer frames as clothes horses obscuring their view of the legs and even walking with them the wrong way round! Some people continue to use them after they really don't need them and carry them in front of them. Often this is just because no-one has reviewed their walking. Also, standard Zimmer frames are designed for indoor use only. The wheels are too small to cope with the ups and downs of a standard British pavement!
Do not hang anything on the front of your zimmer! If you want to carry items from room to room you can purchase a basket or caddy.
Walking aids are supposed to help you not hinder you! If you think what you currently have is wrong for you we would be happy to come and see you at home and sort you right out!