During your life, you may find yourself having to deal with some situations in which medical conditions can affect walking, balance, and strength of the lower limbs.
Unfortunately, a similar need is not always felt in old age, but also in childhood.
The causes can be different.
The most common are caused by:
trauma (bone fractures, soft tissue injuries, etc.);
neurodegenerative pathologies (Alzheimer, Parkinson, etc.);
surgical treatments (hip and knee prosthesis, etc.);
Generally the first step concerns the use of aids such as rollators and walkers.
Not an easy choice, as they are often used as synonyms, giving confusion and uncertainty about which device is the best to adopt.
Although they have similar purposes, a rollator and a walker are actually very different.
The rollator is a device capable of giving support and mobility over long distances.
It consists of two front and two rear wheels.
Some models are equipped with accessories that give support to the patient – they are applied to the person’s pelvis or body – with the aim of facilitating movement and at the same time decrease the body weight on the lower limbs.
The rollator gives you the ability to move freely while walking, and at the same time, ensuring greater stability.
Most rollators have a fixed-fold-down seat to sit on, making them ideal in case of severe fatigue and if you need to take a break, but at the same time, there is no place available, such as a chair, a bench, etc.
The walker, on the other hand, gives robust support and balance for short and medium distances.
It is made up of four legs (sometimes two legs and two small wheels).
In some cases there are two tennis balls under the rear legs to facilitate the push, if you are not able to lift the walker independently yet.
The pathologies that make the person to adopt a walking aid, can be divided into:
Pathologies / affections of the musculoskeletal system:
Inflammatory, neoplastic and vascular diseases:
Please note: Before making this type of decision, always seek advice from a physiotherapist or healthcare professional, if you need specific help choosing between these devices.
Depending on your physical abilities and your lifestyle, there are some considerations to make when choosing between a rollator and traditional walker:
First of all you should examine if there are stability complications, and if the walk can be done without any assistance, or if you need an operator, a family member, etc.
In case you have to push the walker on hard surfaces like carpets, you should be able to have enough strength in the upper body and arms.
Do you spend more time outdoors? Do you walk on street or dirt roads?
Do you walk mainly at home on a parquet or do you deal with rugs and carpets?
In this case the four larger wheels of the walkers, would allow you a greater walking speed and you would be able to manage uneven, and not flat terrains.
Many rollators and walkers have an adjustable height, but of course there are limits.
Make sure you can adjust it to a point where you can stand straight enough while using the device.
If you find yourself very bent forward, the product probably isn’t tall enough for you.
The ideal height must allow the upper limbs to maintain a slightly flexed position and to keep the muscles of the arms relaxed and allow blood to flow.
Rollators and walkers have different weight limits.
Most standard walkers are built for people between 80 and 135kg.
Walkers have similar weight restrictions, particularly if a walker has a built-in seat, which will have to support your weight while sitting.
Heavy-duty walkers can support just a little over 200kg.
Upper body strength is an essential factor, particularly for those considering a traditional walker, as four-legged walkers need to be raised slightly each step.
Two-wheeled walkers don’t require as much upper-body strength, but on difficult terrain it can still be problematic.
Rollators, on the other hand, do not require the same amount of upper body strength.
If you are unable to lift the aid on your own, it is important that you have some kind of assistance, or a family member, who can help you during walking.
Axillary/armpit rollator: allows the weight of the body to be unloaded thanks to the presence of axillary, underarm or antebrachial supports.
Forearm rollator: support the weight of the body, for those who cannot use the upper limbs.
Rollators with 4 or 2 front wheels:
3 wheels rollator:
Standard rigid and articulated walkers:
Pediatric rollator/walker for children:
In this article we have seen the difference between walker and walker.
Both have unique characteristics, which define them by use, characteristics (both of the aids themselves, and the person), advantages and disadvantages according to your needs.
Unfortunately, the common trend is still to use them as synonyms, and all of this leads to more confusion for those who are in serious need of assistance to walk.
What was your choice between a rollator and a walker?
Did you get more benefits from the rollator or walker?