Best Walker After Knee Replacement

James Lee
• Monday, 30 November, 2020
• 7 min read

Currently, in the United States, over 600,000 people are undergoing total knee replacement a year. Knee pain is a fairly common symptom in America, especially with the aging Baby Boomer population.


The first total knee replacement occurred in 1968 and since then improvement in materials and surgical techniques have greatly progressed, making a total knee replacement a viable option for those with severe knee pain. There main reason why a person may choose to undergo a total knee replacement is Osteoarthritis.

As the condition worsens and pain increases, the simple act of climbing stairs or even walking may become difficult or even impossible without some form of aid. A total knee replacement can be thought of as “resurfacing” of the working bones of the knee.

As arthritis causes degradation and pain, the ends of the Femur and Tibia bones begin to rub on one another. During a total knee replacement, metal components are placed on the ends of the femur and tibia bones.

In between these metal implants, a strong Polyethylene plastic spacer is placed to help with shock absorption. A plastic “button” is also placed on the backside of the knee cap to help with any arthritis and on the patella.

Currently, most surgeries will stay one to two nights to help monitor pain and complications. However, simply because the patient is able to leave the hospital doesn’t mean the body has recovered.

Time and proper relief must be given in order for the knee to heal and adjust to the new implants. During the first couple of weeks, the surgical knee will be swollen and painful, and the patient will most likely not be able to stand or walk on their own without aid.

Yes, Medicare does cover the cost of a walker as long as it is deemed medically necessary by an ordering physician. You may still have to meet your deductible and if you don’t have a secondary insurance then you would be responsible for 20% of the cost of the walker.

Medicare may only cover the cost of a single durable medical equipment ever 5 years. Aligning the feet between the back posts of the walker will ensure proper weight distribution with the device and prevent over or under exertion.

When gripping the bars with the hands, it is important to have the arms in a relaxed position without putting too much of the patient’s weight on the walker or on the shoulders. Pros: The Healthline Walker has 5” front wheels that can easily roll over most terrain that a patient most comes across, indoor or outdoor.

It is very lightweight at 6.5 lbs and folds into a package small enough to fit into a large Duffel bag. Pros: This folder is easily transported due to its lightweight design and fold ability.

The rear posts come equipped with skis allowing for smoother use indoors and terrain with a flat surface. Cons: The skis on the back posts may cause difficulties when attempting to use the folder in an outdoor setting.

Pros: The aluminum construction allows for a very lightweight folder that is easy to transport by a single individual. It has vinyl sliders on the back posts to allow for reduced friction when sliding the folder across floor surfaces.

Cons: Due to its lightweight construction heavier patients may cause equipment failure and may need to look for a folder with more durability if looking to use it for a long period of time. It is designed with heavier duty aluminum and wider stance to allow those patients ease-of-use.

The rear post caps has felt bottoms to prevent scraping and scratching on hard floor surfaces. Cons: Due to the width of this walker a patient may find difficulty when trying to move through doorways.

You may need to use some special equipment to ensure a safe recovery after your surgery. You must use a front-wheel walker or crutches (assistive walking device) after your surgery.

A front wheel walker or crutches will help you feel more stable as you walk. Installing grab bars around your toilet, bathtub or shower will increase your safety during transfers.

Elastic laces let you slip in and out of your shoes easily while keeping them tied. Your physical therapist or another member of your healthcare team will help you select the best walker for you.

As you become better at using the walker and your knee strengthens, you’ll be taught more advanced skills. Keeping your back straight, lean on the walker, so it supports your weight.

Put your weight on both your legs, then lift the walker onto the curb. Move your feet and the walker as close to the edge of the curb as you safely can.

Wheeled walkers are great for walking outside and if you have a seat then you could sit and rest as needed. I had a BKR; my progression was from a walker w/o wheels to two crutches---then I used the crutches like canes, and then I went to a cane. During my father's last recovery from a TAR, he had a walker with wheels.

My progression from 2 TAR two days apart was from a walker with wheels for 3 weeks to just walking on my own. But I do not have steps to worry about--I have a ramp to the house which is just one story, and I trusted by balance.

The advantage in the wheeled walker is that you can just push it along in front of you mostly for stability--with the wheeled, you have to pick it up to advance. I could never figure the walker out--ended up carrying it around a lot since it did not fit through the hallways of my house very well.

The 4 wheeled walker can have a tendency to “run away” on you as it is easier to accidentally continue to push it forward when you are taking a step. The two wheeled walker will not “run away” with you as you have to lift the back a little to get it to move smoothly. I have not had either of my knees replaced yet, but with both hips the hospital PT told me to use the 2 wheeled model until I was not in need of as MUCH pain meds, so that I was more fully aware of what I was doing, thus minimizing the “running away” problems.

I have the 4 wheeled walker it has a seat and a basket I like because of the hand brakes. 2 wheel walkers was good for me when I couldn't put much weight on my right knee and 4 wheel walkers was good for work because I could put lunch on the seat or sit down when I got tired.

Right now I use a wheelchair because I can't put 'any' weight on the right leg. They want you to 'learn' to walk with it, so they want it to glide smoothly, not pick it up and plop it like I did early on.

:secretary: I went from the walker to walking without any aides at all @ 5-6 weeks out. In fact, just pulled my walker out...lending it to a friend.

I used a 2-wheeled walker in the hospital for a day, then was given the short crutches. I pretty much only used the walker for bathroom trips during the night for about a week.

Started using one crutch at about 2 weeks, and feel almost ready for my cane--at the least on familiar, even surfaces! Also, due to arthritis in the knees, patient’s joints are so deformed that they cannot bear even their own body weight and thus cannot climb stairs effectively and thus avoid doing it.

Knee muscles also become weak due to misuse or lack of use that they cannot climb stairs. I have seen so many times the knee replacement and climbing stairs is a major problem for bilateral cases.

Also, another factor which becomes important in the case of bilateral knee replacement surgery is having good arm and gripping strength. With good arm strength you can propel forward pretty easily by holding onto a rail.

I have noticed that people don’t generally have as many problems going up the stairs in comparison to coming down. A word of caution: if you avoid bending your knee enough to move downstairs, this can cause big problems in the future like joint stiffness or improper gait.

I am not trying to scare you guys, but this is what happens on a regular basis; the patient is left not being able to enjoy the real benefits of surgery. So forget the pain and I hope I have answered to all those people who search for knee replacement and climbing stairs.

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