Zimmer / Walking Frames – All You Need To Know About These Walking Aids

Written by Kate, Occupational Therapist


In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the essential information about Zimmer frames, also known as walking frames. As an Occupational Therapist with over 15 years of experience, I will provide insights into the benefits, types, and considerations when choosing a walking frame.

A man using a Zimmer frame on a country path, assisted by a friend
Photo by lisafx from iStock

Zimmer Frames vs Walking Frames – Are They the Same?

Most individuals are familiar with the term “Zimmer frames” and have a general idea of what these mobility aids entail. However, it’s worth noting that Zimmer is just one brand among many. As an Occupational Therapist, I commonly refer to these aids as walking frames.

What is a Walking Frame?

A walking frame is a support device that features grip handles on top and four points of contact with the floor. These points of contact can consist of two wheels at the front with rubber ferrule feet at the back, four wheeled, or just a frame without any wheels at all.

Various types of Zimmer frames - without wheels, with 2 wheels, and with 4 wheels

These mobility aids are typically made of lightweight aluminum, ensuring ease of use while remaining strong and sturdy enough to support different weights.

Who Uses a Walking Frame?

Walking frames are commonly employed by individuals with reduced walking ability who require stability and support. They can be found in homes, hospitals, and care homes, with a wide selection available to meet various needs.

Types of Walking Frames

There are two main types of walking frames: folding and non-folding. Each type offers different options, and there are also accessories available for customization.

Folding Walking Frames

Folding walking frames are designed for easy storage and travel. They feature four sturdy, height-adjustable legs, easy-to-grip handles, and straightforward folding and reassembling mechanisms. They can come with or without wheels, depending on the user’s needs and walking ability.

The Drive Easy Rise Foldable Walking Frame - folded

The height adjustability and non-slip ferrules on their feet, similar to walking sticks, provide added stability and safety.

Non-folding Walking Frames

Non-folding walking frames, as the name suggests, do not fold but are usually height-adjustable. Like folding frames, they feature four sturdy legs, easy-to-grip handles, and options for wheels or no wheels. Non-folding frames are suitable for individuals who require ongoing support and do not prioritize storage and transportation.

The Wheeled Walking Zimmer Frame


A wide range of accessories is available for both folding and non-folding walking frames, enhancing storage and convenience. These accessories include caddy trays, baskets, bags, and glide skis, which replace non-slip ferrules and provide a smooth gliding motion while minimizing wear and tear on floor surfaces.

Various walking frame accessories

Considerations when Choosing a Zimmer Frame

When selecting a walking frame, several factors should be considered to ensure optimal suitability and functionality.

Height and Width

The correct height of a walking frame is determined by the floor-to-wrist bone measurement when the elbows are slightly bent. It is crucial to select a frame within the correct height range, allowing for precise adjustments to meet individual needs. Additionally, the width of the frame should be considered, particularly concerning doorway accessibility and the user’s height.

Folding or Non-folding

Deciding whether a walking frame needs to be folded for storage and transportation is an essential consideration. Non-folding frames are ideal for those who require constant support and do not anticipate frequent travel.

Wheels or No Wheels

Wheeled mobility frames offer smoother and more natural walking motion when used correctly. However, the user’s comfort and control should also be taken into account, as some individuals may prefer frames without wheels.

Grip Level

For individuals with reduced grip strength or difficulties with their hands, forearm walking frames or trough models provide better support and usability.

The Benefits of Zimmer Frames

Traditionally used in hospitals and care homes, Zimmer frames have become increasingly popular for home use. These mobility aids offer individuals with limited walking ability increased stability, support, safety, and independence.

The Buckingham Caddy

With a wide range of options available, Zimmer frames are solid, reliable, and durable aids that significantly reduce the risk of falls when used correctly. They cater to different needs, ensuring an ideal solution for various individuals and home environments.


In conclusion, Zimmer frames, or walking frames, are essential mobility aids for individuals with limited walking ability. By considering the types, accessories, and individual preferences, one can select the most suitable walking frame to enhance safety, support, and independence. For further assistance or to explore our range of walking frames and accessories, feel free to contact our Customer Care Team at 0800 255 0498 or email us at [email protected].

Posted by Mike Phipps on July 14, 2021

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