When looking for a trainer to help yourself or your loved one train to walk again, one might wonder, what is the difference between a pediatric walker and a gait trainer walker.
Both gait trainer walkers and pediatric walkers are devices designed to assist individuals with motor disabilities to walk and strengthen their muscles to learn how to walk. While walking might seem like an easy task for the average person, it is something that is difficult for many. Difficulty from walking can be caused by many reasons such as accidental injuries, stroke and even diseases. For people who have difficulty walking, it is frustrating and inconvenient to walk.
Both devices help a patient achieve better stability and mobility when walking and help to get them closer to walking independently. Pediatric walkers and gait trainers afford more support and stability to users compared to canes and crutches.
Such assistive devices are suitable for helping people walk and are of limited help when it comes to climbing stairs. In addition, both make it difficult to navigate through crowds.
While pediatric walkers and gait trainer walkers seem similar and serve the same core purpose of helping a patient walk independently, there are actually several differences between the two.
The most important difference between the two is that pediatric walkers are designed for people who are able to bear their entire weight fully with their legs. Patients suitable for using pediatric walkers should be able to take reciprocal weight bearing steps. As the patient should already be able to bear their own weight and take steps, the walker is mainly used for balance support.
On the other hand, users who are suitable to use gait trainers generally can only support a fraction of their weight. For more support, gait trainers have more support such as seat, hip harness and forearm supports. When several supports are added to a walker, they can be counted as a gait trainer. Standard gait trainers usually come with more supports that can be adjusted and changed to suit the needs of the patient.
Some basic frames of gait trainers are sold and can be known as a walker.
As the patient cannot support their weight fully, gait trainer walker are more focused on promoting motor learning, muscle strengthening and greater independence.
As such while the two may seem similar in helping people walk, they are actually focused on different main goals and suitable for people of different needs. Before getting an assistive device, it is important to understand the differences between devices to get the most suitable device for you.