HomeExpert TipsWhat Are the Best Mobility Aids for Walking?

What Are the Best Mobility Aids for Walking?

A woman holds her rollator, a walking device that helps her walk independently.

The right mobility aid for walking provides the freedom and independence you deserve to do the things you love. Whether you are recovering from an injury or are managing the inevitable challenges of aging, we’ll help you find the best walking assistance device for your personal needs. 

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A woman walks with her mother, who is using a cane

What Is a Cane?

A cane – sometimes referred to as a walking cane – is an ambulatory aid used to enhance balance and stability while walking or standing. While there are several types of canes available, the purpose of all of them is to act as a base of support for an injured or weak leg.  

How to Use a Cane

Typically, a cane should be held in the hand opposite of the injury or weakness – for example, hold the cane in your right hand if your left leg is injured. From there, the cane will support your injured leg as you move it forward with your stride. With some practice, walking with a cane will start to feel natural and will enable you to travel longer distances more comfortably.

A husband and wife walking with a walker

What Is a Walker?

When people think of mobility aid for walking, a walker is usually the first device that comes to mind. A walker is a walking assistance device available to people who don’t require a wheelchair but need something to lean on for support while walking.

Walkers are useful for people who struggle with balance or overall pain or weakness from arthritis. They can also provide support for those who become short of breath while walking. While walkers don’t offer a seat, they do offer stability while standing and resting.

How to Use a Walker

Walkers are favored by many because of their lightweight frames. They are safe and easy to maneuver around the house, at the grocery store, or while navigating through a restaurant.

To use a walker, adjust the device to the appropriate height and grip both handles. Lift or push the walker forward as you walk. Put downward pressure on the handles to maintain stability. 

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A couple of seniors take a walk with their rollators.

What Is a Rollator? 

A rollator is a mobility aid for walking that has 3 or 4 wheels instead of traditional walker feet or slides. Rollators are usually adjustable to your weight and height, easily maneuverable, and often include a built-in seat for resting.

They’re best for individuals with a good sense of balance who need support while walking or standing. Since they roll along, they’re also helpful for those who struggle with grip strength or upper body strength and may have difficulty lifting a walker as they move.

How to Use a Rollator

Similar to a walker, grip the two handles of the rollator and lean its support as you step forward. Since a rollator has wheels, there is no need to lift it while walking. Push forward as you take a step and use the handheld brakes as needed to lock the wheels in place.

What Are the Differences Between a Cane, Walker, and Rollator?

Each of these three ambulatory aids has its own benefits. So how do you know which one is best for you? Our in-store experts are here to help you choose the right device and fit it to your requirements. Here are the basic differences between the three devices you may want to try.

Cane vs. Walker

Walking canes offer the least amount of support, but are the lightest and least cumbersome option. A cane acts as a substitute for a leg and is recommended for an injury or pain on only one side of the body.

A walker is generally used for a person who needs a device capable of supporting more weight. Walkers are a great option for older adults who live alone to maintain independent mobility around the house.

Walker vs. Rollator

Many people think a walker and a rollator are the same mobility aid for walking, but this is a common misconception. While they are similar, the main difference is a walker needs to be lifted to move forward and a rollator is pushed on wheels. 

A walker is lighter in weight than a rollator and is foldable and compact. They can also be slightly easier to use, since they don’t require a brake for stability.

A rollator can be slightly more cumbersome, but it offers the most support out of all the available walking assistance devices. Many rollator models also include a built-in chair for additional support and the opportunity for rest. They are also beneficial for those who struggle with coordination and/or grip strength since they don’t need to be lifted as you walk.

Looking for personal guidance in choosing the best mobility aids for walking? Want to test out available options in person? Find your nearest Mobility City store, where our trained professionals are happy to help!