By Nancy Alexander, PT, CSCS
Never mind driving… just walking in our current winter conditions can be challenging. It’s been a tough winter here in the northeast and yesterday a foot of the white stuff landed in my yard, on my driveway and on my walkway. Even if you’re able-bodied, it’s tough to get around. But what about the many adults who require a walker to get from point A to point B. Four wheeled walkers typically have larger wheels and can negotiate these conditions a little better than a front wheeled walker. Front wheeled walkers provide more support and some people simply must use them for safe ambulation. However, they are not designed for New York winters.
Enter the “Off Road Walker Kit.”
“I see folks trying to walk outside with these walkers and it’s next to impossible,” said Paul Nothnagle of Victor NY. “I went looking around on the internet and found this walker kit. I bought it and it really helps.” Paul has been using it for about a month now and he said he feels more stable when walking on sidewalks with snow and slush on them. The rock salt can also make smaller wheels less reliable. “The larger wheels handle it all much better,” said Paul.
In addition, they will come in handy during the warmer months when walking on grass, dirt and gravel surfaces. “They can be used year-round,” Paul added. He noted that this walker does not go inside his home so no messy clean-up is needed. He has another front wheeled walker that waits for him right inside the door for the hand-off. The off road walker stays in the garage or folds when placed in the car.
I did a search myself and typed in “off road walker wheels” and a host of options appeared. One of the kits with 8-inch tires (like Paul’s) and skis for the back legs of the walker sells for about $36.00 on Amazon. There are plenty of options with different tire sizes. Be sure to read the fine print. Consult your physician or movement specialist for recommendations on what options are right for you.
Our winters are long. You can’t stay inside forever. Be safe out there.