What is a Zimmer Frame?

Written by
Emily Carver

What is a Zimmer Frame?

There can be a bit of confusion around the question, ‘What is a Zimmer frame?’ You may be interested to know that it is actually a brand of walking frame manufactured by the company Zimmer Biomet, which is now used as a generic term. It’s very similar to how when we say ‘Hoover’, we really mean a vacuum cleaner. Zimmer(or walking) frames are a simple but effective walking aid that helps to provide stability and balance. 

There are several different types of walking frames to choose from, so it is essential to choose the right frame to support your unique mobility needs. 

What Are Zimmer Frames Used For?

It is important to know how to use a Zimmer frame correctly so that you can be safe and reduce the risk of an accident. Zimmer frames are used to help with mobility by transferring 64 percent of the user's weight to their arms, relieving some of the pressure placed onto the legs and feet. This makes the Zimmer frame a much more comfortable alternative to crutches or a walking stick. Walking frames are ideal for mobility at home, although it is not recommended that they are used for longer distances. If the user has enough stability, they could use a wheeled walker for longer trips, or alternatively, they could use a mobility scooter to maximise comfort, safety and independence.

How to use a Zimmer frame safely:

Setting Up Your Frame

Your Zimmer frame should have height adjusters on the side of the frame. The correct height should be at your wrists when standing with your arms extended. 

When Standing Up

Remember to always push up from your seating surface with your legs; do not pull yourself onto the frame in case it falls back and causes injury. When standing, use the hand grips on either side of the frame.

When Sitting Down

Turn yourself with the frame until your seat or bed is touching the back of your legs. Reach your hands back to the armrests or bed, and gently lower yourself to a seated position. 

When Walking

Gently move your frame one step forward ahead of you, but be careful not to place it too far ahead. Step into the frame with one foot in front of the other and when you feel secure, move the frame one step ahead again. You should not walk too far into the frame, as you could be at risk of tipping forward. 

Zimmer Frame With Wheels vs Rollator?

There are a few different types of Zimmer frames that can be used for varying mobility needs and walking conditions. In addition to the traditional Zimmer frame walker, there is also the Zimmer frame with wheels or the rollator. 

The main difference between a zimmer frame with wheels and a rollator is that the rollator features four wheels and a zimmer frame with wheels has just two wheels on the front legs.

A Zimmer frame with wheels is a hybrid of the traditional walker and a rollator. The wheels at the front allow you to move the frame without having to lift it fully off the ground. Because the back two legs are in direct contact with the ground, this type of frame is able to safely support your body weight and balance. They do, however, require more upper body strength and grip in order to hold onto the frame securely. A Zimmer frame with wheels is perfect for aiding your mobility around the house, supporting you to get from room to room. 

An alternative to a Zimmer frame with wheels is a rollator. Rollators feature wheels at the end of the legs and brakes attached to the handles. This allows you to move forward without having to lift the frame. It is important to note that rollators should not be used to support your body weight or balance due to the risk of wheels moving too far ahead of you. Rollators are particularly useful for those who may struggle with grip or upper body strength. They also typically feature a seat and storage, which can be helpful on trips outside of the house. 

woman walking with a rollator and grandchild

We understand that your mobility needs are unique to you. We always recommend consulting your doctor about any health concerns and trying a range of solutions to find your perfect frame.

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