What’s the Difference? - Hemi Walkers v/s Knee Walkers

Walkers are tools used by people with impaired mobility who need additional support to balance themselves while walking. Replacing the walking stick which was only supportive in some situations, walkers today have become an important tool of usage for all people who have trouble balancing themselves while walking. A basic walker is a simple frame with two or four legs and a handle for the user to grip. Many are equipped with wheels while many are foldable.

What’s the Difference? - Hemi Walkers v/s Knee Walkers

What are Hemi-Walkers?

Also known as the side stepper, hemi walkers are tools that assist ambulatory patients with mobility. It is built with lightweight materials such as aluminum, to make it easy for the user as well the caregiver to carry it around. Since they can be lifted using one hand, they are also called one hand walkers. One can say that hemi walkers are a hybrid between walking canes and standardized walkers. The word hemi means half and so they are also known as half walkers. The frame of a hemi walker is similar to an average walker with four legs and a balance beam that also works as the gripping handle. The base of the legs have rubber tips which makes sure that the walker has adequate traction while in use. Since the walker doesn’t have wheels, the user must have a good amount of upper body strength to use a hemi walker.

When Does One Need a Hemi Walker?

Hemi walkers are designed specially to cater to the needs of people who face problems while walking especially while maintaining balance. Stroke patients, patients who have undergone a brain surgery, or people suffering from neurological disorders, tend to lose the strength of one or more limbs and sometimes a complete side of their body. Hemi walkers are the perfect option for such people as it can be used with only one hand. They provide perfect balance and compensate for the loss of dexterity of one side of the body by balancing the body while walking. They are also a good option for people who have had a leg surgery and have been recommended to not apply stress on either leg.

Types of Hemi Walkers

  • Standard Hemi Walker - Standard Hemi walkers are standard frame hemi walkers with four legs and a balance beam equipped with a grip to support the user. They are made of lightweight materials and can be easily moved around in the house or outdoors
What’s the Difference? - Hemi Walkers v/s Knee Walkers What’s the Difference? - Hemi Walkers v/s Knee Walkers What’s the Difference? - Hemi Walkers v/s Knee Walkers
Essential Medical Pyramid Cane Hemi Walker
Days Hemi Walker
Guardian Adult Hemi Walker
  • Heavy Duty Hemi Walker - Heavy Duty Hemi Walker are made of composite yet light material to support bariatric patients or patients that have to avoid stressing one leg while walking. They can easily support heavy weights and are portable as well
What’s the Difference? - Hemi Walkers v/s Knee Walkers What’s the Difference? - Hemi Walkers v/s Knee Walkers What’s the Difference? - Hemi Walkers v/s Knee Walkers
Tubular Fabricators The GRAND Line Heavy Duty Side Walker Or Cane
Essential Medical Endurance HD Heavy Duty Four Wheel Walker
MJM International Wide Walker with Heavy Duty Casters and Adjustable Height
  • Foldable Hemi Walker - All hemi walkers are in a sense portable since all of them are lightweight but these foldable hemi walkers can be folded and stored easily at home or can be dunked into the trunk of a car
What’s the Difference? - Hemi Walkers v/s Knee Walkers What’s the Difference? - Hemi Walkers v/s Knee Walkers
Carex Folding Hemi Walker​ Mabis DMI Folding Aluminum Hemi-Walker

What are Knee Walkers?

Also known as knee scooters, they are walkers equipped with wheels and a handle to balance the walker. They are a hybrid between standard walkers and scooters. They are pushed around using the upper body strength of the user and have seat like rest in the center for the knee. They were developed as a replacement for crutches or traditional walkers. Crutches are painful to use as there is a possibility that they might aggravate the injury further. One also experience pain in the forearms and underarms after using crutches. Knee walkers eliminate this pain and discomfort by making it a simple and easy tool to use. They are made of sturdy yet lightweight materials and can be easily transported from one place to another.

Benefits of Knee Walkers

  • Perfect for the Elderly - Elderly people have to suffer a lot in terms of discomfort and pain when it comes to using crutches after an injury or surgery as their body is no longer strong enough to take the strain of using crutches. Knee walkers are the perfect option for them as they can move around freely without any pain or discomfort
  • Allows You To Use Your Hands - A person using crutches, limits the range of motion of the hand as the hands are partially responsible for holding the crutches. But with knee walkers, the knee is completely at rest and the hands can be used freely for other work. The hands are only used when the knee walker has to be moved
  • Faster Than All Non-Motored Mobility Devices - Knee walkers are faster than normal walkers, crutches, canes, etc. They can be easily maneuvered around corners and can be used to travel longer distances
  • More Comfortable Than Crutches - With the possibility of injuring yourself even further, crutches today have become an unreliable aid for mobility. Knee walkers are more efficient and comfortable than crutches and are also less painful

Types of Knee Walkers

  • Steerable Knee Walker - They have improved steering for better maneuverability. These steerable knee walkers are apt for people who have recently undergone surgery and also for people who have to use it around the house for turning and moving swiftly
What’s the Difference? - Hemi Walkers v/s Knee Walkers What’s the Difference? - Hemi Walkers v/s Knee Walkers What’s the Difference? - Hemi Walkers v/s Knee Walkers
Cardinal Health Steerable Knee Walker
Drive DV8 Steerable Aluminum Knee Walker
Medline Weil Gen 2 Knee Walker
  • Hands - Free Knee Walker - A rare type of knee walker, they can be maneuvered using a gentle push which allows the hands to be free at all times. They cannot be steered but are good for people who have to work continuously while standing
  • All Terrain Knee Walker - These terrain knee walkers can be used in almost all terrains in the city. From home surfaces and tiles, to gravel and sand, they are the perfect travel option
What’s the Difference? - Hemi Walkers v/s Knee Walkers
Vive Mobility All Terrain Knee Walker

Which is Better Knee Walker or Hemi Walker?

Knee walkers and hemi walkers are very different in functioning but the main idea behind the two is the same which is supporting a person while walking. Hemi walkers cater to a different set of patients where as knee walkers cater to people with injuries and disorders in the leg. Here are a few benefits of each which will help you compare and choose according to your needs:

Hemi Walker Knee Walker
1. Made for people with balance and dexterity problems 1. Made for people who have undergone leg or knee surgery 
2. Lightweight and perfect for home use 2. Sturdy and can be pushed around easily 
3. Comes in standard, heavy duty, and foldable options 3. Comes in all terrain, steerable, and hands free options
4. Can be easily taken out for travel purposes 4. Difficult to carry around as they are heavier than hemi walkers
5. Requires good strength of the upper body to be used 5. Doesn’t require good upper body strength but dexterity is important to avoid accidents


Both hemi walkers and knee walkers have their own pros and cons and choosing the right one for your needs is very important to make sure you do not further injure yourself or aggravate an existing condition.


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