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Discharge Instructions: Using a Walker

Your doctor has prescribed a walker for you. To use your walker, you need to learn a new gait, or way to walk. Your doctor will tell you to use either a non-weight-bearing gait (which means putting no weight on one leg and foot) or a weight-bearing gait (putting weight on both legs and feet).

Guidelines for Use:

  • Remove throw 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 Method:

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

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

  • Move the walker forward about 12 inches.

  • Support your weight on your hands.

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

Weight-Bearing Method:

  • Roll the walker (lift it if you’re using a walker without wheels).

  • Move the walker forward about 12 inches.

  • Step forward with your injured leg, new joint, or weaker side first.

  • 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.

 

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