Mobility aids are devices designed with the intent to assist people who have difficulties with moving around, be able to enjoy greater freedom and independence. Typically, people who have disabilities or injuries are at an increased risk for falling. There are many types of mobility devices available to meet people’s needs including walkers, canes and wheelchairs. It is important for people to use mobility aids correctly or risk injury. Mobility device users are frequently not trained properly. Here are some valuable tips for safety with the use of your mobility device.

Cane Safety The first step in safety with a cane is to make sure it fits properly. A physical therapist or occupational therapist is the best option to assist with making sure your cane is the proper height. Typically, the top of the cane should reach the crease of the wrist with a slight elbow bend.

Tips when ambulating with a cane:

  • Do not look at your feet but straight ahead when ambulating in order that you can see obstacles or barriers that lie ahead
  • Avoid slippery conditions (ice, snow, wet floors)
  • Keep the cane close to your body on the strong or uninjured side
  • Replace rubber tips of cane if worn


Walker Safety       An important step in safety with a walker is proper height and size. The best opt ion is a physical therapist or occupational therapist to adjust to proper height as they are trained professionals.

Tips when ambulating with a cane:

  • Stay upright and do not bend over to avoid injury to the back
  • Do not pull up on a walker when coming to stand. Push off of the surface you are sitting on
  • Look straight ahead when you are walking and not at your feet
  • Step into the walker rather than walking behind the walker
  • Do not use a walker on stairs or escalators
  • Replace rubber tips on walker when worn


Wheelchair safety        A wheelchair must be fitted to the patient for safety and comfort. A physical therapist or occupational therapist can help determine proper fit.

  • Brakes should be engaged prior to getting in and getting out of the wheelchair.
  • Removal of foot pedals when transferring in and out of wheelchair to avoid tripping over or possible leg injury.
  • Avoid bending forward or sideways on the edge of the wheelchair seat to avoid tipping or falling out of the Utilize a Reacher or caregiver to reach items on ground or out of reach.
  • Use assistance from caregivers to maneuver over curbs or ramps
  • Regular maintenance is very important to keep a wheelchair in good working order.
  • Keep loose objects away from spokes
  • Avoid heavy load s on the back of the wheelchair to avoid tipping backwards


Wheelchair positioning    Recommendations for optimal positioning are:

  • Positioned in the middle of the wheelchair not leaning to one side
  • Knees level with hips
  • Feet contacting with footplates
  • Sitting up straight and back resting on the back of the chair.


Using a mobility device properly may take some time and practice but getting around safely and independently is worth the extra effort! Please contact Greenfield Rehabilitation at: 262-473-2140 Fairhaven Senior Services, 435 Starin Road, Whitewater, WI 53190 for further information and to ensure your best fit, comfort and safety!