Different types of walking frames for disabled people

Walking frames

There are different types of equipment to help disabled people walk. What is best depends where you are walking, whether you need a seat, or a shopping trolley or a tray, or a mixture of these. Many people have more than one type, for different purposes, indoor and outdoor, shopping or gardening.  I don’t believe there is a ‘best mobility walker’ as they all do different things, which you need to take into account.

Walking frames and Zimmer frames

A walking frame is an aid for disabled or elderly people who need extra support to maintain balance or stability while walking. They are also known as Zimmer frames in the United Kingdom, after Zimmer Holdings who are a major manufacturer of these types of devices.

walking frameThe design consists of a lightweight surround, about waist high, approximately 12 inches (30 cm) deep and slightly wider than the person using it. Walking frames are also available in other sizes such as paediatric for children or bariatric for large or obese persons. Walkers are usually height adjustable to allow a comfortable height for the user.  The height should let the user keep a small bend in their arms. This bend is essential to enable the blood to circulate through the arms as the walker is used. The front legs of the walker may have wheels attached, depending on the strength of the person using it. If you are looking for a simple mobility walker this could be what you need.

Tri walkers

Tri-walkers are 3 wheeled walking frames with a light frame and three solid wheels. They are compact and simple to use, and tri-walkers can usually be folded for storage and making them easy to transport. If you are looking for lightweight, folding walking frames this could be what you need.


Rollators have a different approach to the walker, but are a type of 3 wheeled, or, more often, 4 wheeled mobility walkers.  The original rollator was invented by a Swedish inventor called Aina Wifalk, in 1978. When Aina was 21, she developed polio, and when she was around fifty, she had the idea for the rollator. Although initially a brandrolltor name, rollator has become a generic name for 4 wheeled mobility walkers in several countries and is also the most common type of walker in several European countries. Aina wanted to help as many disabled people as possible, so she never patented her designs.

The rollator has a frame with 3 or 4 large wheels, handlebars, with brakes, and a seat, which allows the user to rest if required. Rollators often have a shopping basket or bag, and Rollators are usually more advanced than other wheeled walkers. They are height adjustable in and light-weight, yet a lot sturdier than conventional walkers. The brakes are typically lifted up or pushed down to instantly stop the rollator. With practice, the brakes can be used in manoeuvring the rollator; for example by braking on one side while turning towards that side a much tighter turning can be achieved. If you are looking for sturdy 4 wheeled mobility walkers this could be what you need.

What to consider when buying mobility walkers

As with all mobility aids, you need to think about what you want and need from the product you are purchasing. If you get tired quickly when out, you could benefit from buying in a rollator, as they usually come fitted with a seat, for taking breaks from walking. On the other hand, do you struggle with your strength and find some walking aids too weighty and bulky for you to manage? If that is the case, a lightweight tri-walker could be a better buy for you. Do you have your own car, or do you travel by taxi or bus? Do you go out alone? Do you walk long distances? All these things need to be taken into account as a rollator sounds excellent, but if you travel alone by bus you could find it difficult to lift, and space could be a problem, although with your own care and someone accompanying you it could be ideal. The rollator you find ideal for shopping may be too difficult to manoeuvre around the house. A smaller indoor rollator or a wheeled walking frame with a tray fitted could help you move things from room to room as well as helping with your walking and balance.


4 wheeled mobility walkerIf you are looking for mobility walkers, you have to think about what you need before purchasing.  You may decide to buy an expensive one that will be useful for all your needs, or it may be better for you to buy 2 or even 3 cheaper ones to do different jobs. However, make sure you are buying what you need and not throwing your money away on something you cannot use.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me and I will try to help you.

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