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Home » Don’t Let Bumps Stop You! Using a Walker on Even Surfaces

Don’t Let Bumps Stop You! Using a Walker on Even Surfaces

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As we age, mobility may become more difficult. Walkers must navigate uneven surfaces such as gravel roads, grassy yards, and cobblestone streets. However, with some adjustments and extra caution, uneven terrain can be navigated safely with a walker.

The first step is selecting the appropriate walker. A standard walker with small wheels is not suitable for uneven terrain. The small wheels can get stuck in divots or cracks. A better option is a walker with large wheels that are at least 8 inches in diameter. Large wheels make it easier to roll over obstacles. Many new walkers have rugged, treaded wheels and are specifically designed for outdoor use.

Before going out, make sure your walker is stable. Check that all screws and bolts are tight. Examine and replace any cracked or worn rubber tips on the legs. Having tips with good tread helps to prevent slipping.

When using a walker on uneven pavement, always start slowly. Take small steps and proceed cautiously. Scan the ground ahead of you for potential hazards. Check for loose stones, branches, holes, or abrupt changes in terrain. Pay full attention to your surroundings; do not talk or text on your phone at the same time.

Before taking a step, make sure your walker is firmly planted. All four legs should be firmly grounded. Do not move forward if one or more of your legs appear unstable. To settle it, gently shift the frame back and forth. Check for stability again before proceeding.

To step up onto a curb, approach it slowly and directly, rather than at an angle. Place the front wheels against the curb. To lift the front wheels onto the curb, press down on the handles and then step up. To step down, reverse the process. Allow the back wheels to gradually roll off the curb, allowing the walker to support your weight as you step down.

Cracks or gaps in the pavement must also be treated with caution. Before stepping over them, ensure that your walker has enough clearance and will not become stuck. Position the front wheels beyond the far side of the gap before moving the back wheels across. Take your time and avoid any sudden, jerking motions with the walker.

Grassy or soft surfaces make using walkers more difficult. The feet could possibly sink into the ground. This reduces stability and makes it more difficult to lift the walker with every step. Concrete or brick pavers embedded in the lawn provide a firmer surface for walking on. However, avoid wet grass or dewy ground, as moisture reduces traction.

Gravel roads and trails present another challenge. Loose stones make it easy for walkers to become stuck. For short distances, try to find a firmer path along the side of the road. However, for longer trips, a walker with large inflatable tyres works best. Rather than digging in, the tyres float lightly over the gravel. Fully inflate them to increase stability and prevent slipping.

When ascending any slope, even a gentle incline, ensure that you have proper control of the walker. Take very short steps, keeping your weight centred between the frame rails. Lean slightly forward to balance the pull of gravity. If the rear wheels begin to drift downhill, stop immediately and reposition the walker. Descending slopes requires equal care. Resist the urge to let gravity accelerate your walker, as this can quickly result in a loss of control.

If you do not feel completely stable at any point, do not risk falling. Stop moving and focus on improving your footing and hand position. You may want to widen your stance or adjust the walker’s height. Carry a cane as a backup in case you require additional support. Pride should never stand in the way of safety.

Walking on uneven ground requires patience and awareness. Specialty walkers, like the byACRE Overland, with larger wheels can help. However, it is also necessary to proceed with caution, taking no step for granted. With caution and common sense, older adults can still enjoy walks through diverse landscapes. Just remember to prioritise safety with each step.