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How to Properly Use a Walking Cane
Christian Sweitzer on
Using a Walking Cane
As unfortunate as it is, an unsteady gait or weakness of lower extremities can make mobility difficult and dangerous, regardless of the cause. For some of these individuals, though, a walking cane can be a simple and effective solution to gaining back some independence while keeping safety in mind. However, failure to use a walking cane properly can pose some hazards. While a simple google search for "best practices using walking canes" may yield many results, there are a few essential basics.
Use the Right Type of Walking Cane
There are multiple types of walking canes on the market. These can include but are not limited to the quad walking cane, offset walking cane, folding walking cane, and seat walking canes. Although the most used walking cane is the single-point walking cane, this does not necessarily mean that this is the right type for the individual. The ailment or injury and specific needs will play a significant role in the walking cane needed. If unsure of the kind of walking cane required, the buyer can always consult with their family physician or company representative to explain the various types and how they will be used.
Ensure the Proper Length
If the length of the cane is incorrect, this can lead to pain and injury. It affects the balance and gait because the user must maintain an unnatural posture to use it. An individual can be measured by a physician or other medical professional such as a physical therapist assistant, but this is not always
necessary as they are different walking canes, including adjustable ones. If an adjustable walking cane is chosen, the user must be wearing regular walking shoes and assuming a normal stance with arms relaxed for proper adjustment.
Use the Walking Cane Properly
Unless otherwise directed by a physician or other qualified medical personnel, the walking cane should always be held on the strong side. Instead, the walking cane should only be extended the distance of a regular step.
Other Safety Tips for Using a Walking Cane
A mobility walking cane should be kept close to the person, especially when
additional support may be needed to get up or down. Locking mechanisms prevent collapsing if the walking cane is adjustable or of the collapsible variety. These should be checked before use and regularly to inspect wear and tear. It is also good to routinely inspect the cane's tip to ensure the rubber tip is not damaged. This can prevent the walking cane from sliding and the user from potentially falling. Finally, it can be a wise idea to practice utilizing the cane around the home and in familiar areas to adapt better
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