Walking aids, wheelchairs and mobility scooters

Walking sticks

If you or someone you know has difficulty walking or getting around (mobility), a wheelchair, scooter or walking aid might help.

You can use a walking stick to give you extra support and help you balance. It can give you confidence and make walking less painful.

How to get a walking stick

You can borrow some types of walking sticks from the NHS. Speak to a GP, physiotherapist or hospital staff. You might have to pay a small deposit.

You can buy walking sticks online or from mobility shops. Search online for mobility shops in your area. Prices range from £5 to £30.

Choosing a walking stick

There are different types of walking sticks.

You should think about:

Contact your GP surgery about how to get an appointment with a physiotherapist.

Walking frames (Zimmer frames or rollators)

A walking frame gives you more support than walking sticks. You can use them to get around your home or to get out and about.

How to get a walking frame

You can borrow a walking frame from the NHS. Speak to a GP, physiotherapist or hospital staff. You might have to pay a deposit.

You can buy walking frames online, or search online for mobility shops in your area. Prices range from £40 to £200.

Choosing a walking frame

There are different types of walking frames.

You should think about:

Which? has more advice on buying the best walking stick, walking frame or rollator

Wheelchairs

You can use a wheelchair if you struggle to walk or you're disabled. You can go into and around many shops and buildings in a wheelchair.

How to get a wheelchair

There are several ways you can get a wheelchair. Depending on your individual circumstances you may need to pay towards the costs.

Getting an NHS wheelchair

Ask a GP, physiotherapist or hospital staff to refer you to your local wheelchair service for an assessment. You'll need to do this before you can get an NHS wheelchair.

The local wheelchair service will decide if you need a wheelchair and, if so, what type.

You might be able to get a voucher. This allows you to pay towards the cost of a different type of wheelchair.

Borrowing a wheelchair

You can sometimes borrow an NHS wheelchair for a short while (for example, after an operation).

Red Cross branches often hire wheelchairs on a weekly basis.

Read more about hiring a wheelchair from the Red Cross.

Some shopping centres have a Shopmobility scheme, where you can borrow a wheelchair while you're shopping. This is usually free.

Buying a wheelchair

Search online for local mobility shops. Wheelchairs range in price from £150 to more than £1,000.

Help with costs

The Motability Scheme can help if you want to hire or buy an electric wheelchair. It allows some people to use their benefits to pay for a wheelchair.

A personal wheelchair budget scheme has been introduced in England. Your local integrated care board (ICB) should be able to provide more information on provision in your area.

Find your local ICB

Choosing a wheelchair

You can get manual or electric wheelchairs.

When you're looking at wheelchairs, think about:

Ask to try different types of wheelchairs before you make your decision.

Which? has advice on choosing the right wheelchair

Mobility scooters

Mobility scooters can be useful if you struggle to walk or are disabled, need to travel long distances, and are able to get on and off a mobility scooter easily.

How to get a scooter

Mobility scooters are not generally available on the NHS.

Buying a mobility scooter

Search online for local mobility shops. Mobility scooters range in price from £500 to more than £5,000.

Get help with costs

You might be able to get a grant or help from a charity.

Better Mobility has a list of charities that can help pay towards a scooter

The Motability Scheme can help if you want to hire or buy a mobility scooter. It allows some people to use their benefits to pay for one.

Choosing a scooter

You should think about:

Ask to try different types before you make your decision.

Which? has advice on choosing the right mobility scooter

The Research Institute for Disabled Consumers has advice on choosing a mobility scooter