How To Use A Knee Walker Properly. Scoot With Ease

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What is a knee walker or knee wheelchair? While they give you great stability, they roll fast and have tight turning circles. A commonly asked question is how do you use a knee scooter? The most pared down answer is, like the scooter you may have whizzed around on as a kid. Your leg rests on the padded seat, hands on handlebars, and use the other foot to scoot yourself along. The hand brakes are either drum brakes or loop brakes for fast braking action. You do NOT need to use your foot as a brake! And yes, you do need to know how to use a knee walker properly! 

What Does A Knee Walker Look Like?

These sophisticated creations are a far cry from the scooters you may be familiar with growing up. What does a knee walker look like- well, there are a lot of variations on the market. The basic knee walker design is a 2-wheeled, 3-wheeled or 4-wheeled design that serves as an alternative to a traditional walker or crutches. It can also be called a knee walker, knee cruiser, knee scooter, knee caddy or orthopedic scooter.

These are 11 of our favorite 3 and 4 wheeler models which are well designed, tough and foldable!

The design has changed over the years from small-wheeled designs for indoor use to larger, stronger orthopedic scooters with larger wheels – up to 12 inches- for outdoor use. Insider tip when learning how to use a rolling knee walker- the bigger the wheel diameter, the easier they are to ride from experience!

Modern rolling knee walkers are usually light and foldable by design such that they support the shin of the unusable limb when the knee is flexed.

Here’s How To Use a Rolling Knee Walker

 We’ll discuss how to get the right posture, balance, speed, and stability. We’ll also touch on what surfaces they work best on to cover the basics so you use a knee scooter properly. Most people can scoot very well within 15 minutes, it really isn’t difficult and the independence factor is priceless.

Can I Use a Knee Walker on Stairs?

One question people have asked us all the time is can I use a knee walker scooter on stairs? The reality is preferably not. It’s just too dangerous trying to balance while controlling the scooter especially if there are a lot of steps.

You most certainly can’t use a knee walker to get down narrow stairs or steps, guaranteed accident from experience! There simply isn’t enough space to maneuver the scooter safely. 

You could “carefully learn” how to use a knee walker on stairs, but only wide shallow ones and maybe 2 or 3 steps at the most for safety’s sake. Frankly we strongly suggest not trying to get up or down stairs.

Body Position Is Vital In Learning How to Use a Rolling Knee Walker

The best knee walker for you is one that is height adjustable, has larger wheels, with a larger seat and supports you comfortable (properly) while you stand.

Adjust The Handlebar Height

All brands have adjustable handlebars that are easy to slide up and down so they are at the correct height for your height.  The cushion you rest your knee on is also height adjustable on some brands. If you are very tall, or on the shorter side this is important so you can find the perfect height for comfortable scooting.

Always read the manufacturers stats on how high or low the stem can adjust to. There’s no point if you are on the tall side of buying a scooter that only suits people up to 5″6″ if you are 6″ 4″ for example- that’s a no brainer! 

Slide the Handlebars…

The handlebars need to be at the right height so you aren’t hunching over getting a sore back, sore neck or strained shoulders as you scoot. Slide the handlebars up and down until you find the most comfortable position.

Ideally, Your Elbows Are In A Flexed Position

To find the ideal position- rest your knee on the pad. Now loosen the adjustment knob so the handles slide up and down easily. Stand up fairly straight holding the handlebars. Your elbows are at their most comfortable position when flexed- a slight bend at the elbow.

Don’t Lock Your Elbows

Don’t lock them as this has a tendency to put strain on both the arms, shoulders and upper back.   

Adjusting Knee Wheelchair’s Seat

Under the seat of the rolling walker, there is either a knob or a lever to adjust the height.

To lower or raise the seat’s height, you have to hold on to the seat sides firmly and adjust up or down. After that, you can flip the lever, or turn the screw, depending on the model, and tighten it.

Some levers come with a safety pin to keep it in place so you’ll have to remove that to adjust the knee wheelchair’s seat.

When you’re done, check to see if the lever is tight and secure.

The Knee Pad Size and Width

Make sure the knee pad is larger, than smaller. You want it to have a wide surface to comfortably support your leg without having to work to keep it on the seat!

When you are buying your chosen model, take a moment to check both are adjustable- the cheaper versions may not offer this functionality…

2 Types Of Knee Pad Designs

There are 2 types of pads. Those with flat surfaces and those with a channel. Which you choose is of course personal preference, but from experience pads with a channel actually do work well for greater support and keeping the lower leg stiller. The channel helps keeps your leg in place so it doesn’t slide off as you take corners on 2 wheels:) Which in turn can help to reduce painful jarring.

Flat pads

The flat pads are just that, flat and may often have a slippery surface- which is of course easier to clean, but harder to keep your shin on as it’s flat.

When learning how to use a knee scooter properly, your knee is best positioned when the leg with the injury rests comfortably on the center of the seat pad. Your other leg however, does the opposite by resting flat on the floor while your injured leg is resting on the seat cushion.
There are several types of knee scooters for sale so test them until you find the perfect fit.

All seats provide a level of padding. How much you need depends on the type of injury or surgery and pain sensitivity levels. Everyone is unique here.

Which leads onto the next section of how to make the rolling knee walker pad more comfy to use.

How to Make a Knee Scooter More Comfortable?

Great question! If you are traveling for some distance, say down to the shops, your already sore leg will probably feel even worse after being jolted from riding over rough surfaces. There are 3 options in how to make a knee scooter more comfortable- handle bar grips and seat covers.

Handle Grips

Most handle bar grips are reasonably soft, but you may want softer grips because the existing grips are ridged, hard plastic, not ergonomically shaped etc. You can buy softer neoprene foam tubes which slip over the existing grips, slip on gel grips or soft touch rubber style grips.

Sheepskin Seat Covers

The ultimate way to make a knee scooter more comfortable is buy a thick cushy sheepskin cover. These covers slip over the existing seat and have a thick sheepskin pile to sink your shin into.

The thick soft pile radically reduces chafing, cushions against painful jarring and reduces the leg slip factor! These cream or black colored covers are available as real or fake sheepskin.

Memory Foam Knee Pad Covers

The next best alternative is memory foam which can be just as good. Most of the better options are 2 inches thick which will provide excellent comfort factor to reduce jarring and discomfort as you scoot around. Just make sure to buy the thickest memory foam pad for ultimate comfort!

They slip over the existing seat and are fastened either with Velcro tabs or may be elasticated.

If you are specifically looking for a suitable 4 wheel medical scooter, these 5 brands and models are all popular right now.

Using Your Knee Walker

You can easily find any knee scooter for sale. What matters most is how you use it. Try using our guide on how to use a knee scooter and maintaining your knee wheelchair and you’ll be just fine.

The first step before using your rolling knee walker is to ensure your good foot, the knee of your foot with the injury and your hips are level with your lower back. To move forwards,  propel yourself only using your good foot to push yourself forwards. This is best to prevent further injury to the other already injured foot or knee.

You’re getting the hang of how to use a knee walker properly. I love this funny YouTube with the accompanying commentary from the husband on how his wife gets around…

Balancing On A Rolling Knee Walker

To balance properly on the knee scooter, lock in the brakes to hold yourself stable and prevent an accident. Then, place your knee on the seat cushion and level your body.
Once you feel good, release the brakes and use your good leg to propel the knee scooter and yourself forward. When you want to slow down, or you want to turn, push the handlebar and engage the brake so the knee walker slows down a little bit.

You will be amazed at just how fast these scooters can travel. They are fast and so easy to get around corners, objects and doors with ease.

Benefits of Best Knee Walker

The best knee walkers help you stay free from crutches.

Crutches really are  obsolete these days. They can cause further injury to your knee because you’ll keep using it. You can trip so easily when using crutches, they catch on raised protrusions, in doorways- anywhere! For people who have health issues such as arthritis, regular crutches are difficult to use on a daily basis. They can throw your whole body out of balance and strain it unnecessarily.

While using a knee scooter in your home, you’ll notice that you’ll be able to reach for higher things in cupboards, shelves and on the wall using both hands. And still remain stable- no hopping on one leg. You can put personal items, shopping, the iPad and things in the basket attached to the scooter handlebars, leaving your hands free to steer the scooter. This makes for greater ease of use compared to crutches.

Best Surfaces for Learning How To Use A Knee Walker Properly

The best surfaces are to start practisding on are hard surfaces without pebbles, sticks or bits of stuff on the ground when you are first learning how to use a knee walker! All the knee walkers on the market will work on all surfaces. some are better than other of course. You can tell by looking at how large and sturdy the wheels are. The larger the wheel diamter, the smoother the
Also, read the descriptions in store or online to get more information about the benefits of the scooter model. Some knee scooters can work in the house as well as on footpaths, roads, in a grassed park and will easily work on escalators.

Here is an indepth guide on how to best use and care for your knee walker

Knee Scooter for Sale

You can get one of several knee scooter for sale through distributors nationwide or directly online. Knee walkers are not expensive and the price range can be between $100 and $400 depending on the quality of the metal and where you purchase it. When you first get your model, take some time to learn how to use a knee walker properly. They offer you great mobility and independence, and they are fast. You will be amazed and pleased how much of a benefit they are to your life when you need to use one. The kids can use it after you have finished with it…:)

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