Should I Be Using a Cane?

Monday, 22 Nov 2010 03:06 PM

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Have your legs been feeling shakey lately? Are you not confident when you are walking? An assistive mobility device like a cane or a wheelchair may be what you need. If you aren’t sure which one will help you move around the best, here are a few tips that may help.
 
When should I use a cane?
You should think of getting a cane under the following circumstances:
  • If you have developed stiff joints or weak and painful knees.
  • If sitting down and getting up unassisted is difficult.
  • To provide stability while walking if you are suffering from a chronic diseases like Parkinson, Huntington, or Fibromyalgia.
  • After an extensive surgery that has kept you bedridden for a long time.
Varieties of canes
Usually, your doctor or your physical therapist will suggest the right assistive mobility device for you to use. There are several varieties that you can choose from:
  • Standard canes are made of metal or wood and can be easily found at a variety of stores. They have straight or rounded tips and are easy to use. This type fo cane is good for patients who require the least amount of help while walking or sitting.
  • Functional grip canes are also perfect for people who require help when getting up and sitting down. They provide much better mobility and walking assistance.
  • Canes for walking are designed slightly differently. They usually have a rectangular base with four feet. This setting provides much more stability for walking. You can choose from small-base and broad-base quad canes.
  • Hemi walkers are the next best canes you can use. These will provide support in the form of a walker while still acting like a cane.
How to choose a cane?
  • Always ask a physiotherapist or your physician for advice on which cane to choose.
  • Always make sure that the top of the cane reaches the crease on the underside of your wrist to give the best support. To get the best support from the cane, your elbow should be flexed about 20 degrees when standing.
  • Choose an individually shaped foam grip that will help you walk better. The right grip will also reduce stress on your joints when you walk. If you experience joint pain, it indicates that the cane is not adjusted properly to your height and grip.
  • Ensure that the other end has a pliable rubber non-skid grip. If required, replace the grip to prevent slipping.
Are wheelchairs better than canes?
Not really, it’s just a matter of personal preference. If you have recently recovered from surgery, a doctor may ask you to use a wheelchair, but it’s always best to stay as mobile as you can. This can improve your health considerably. You can combine the use of a cane with a wheelchair when you get tired. A walker is another option you can use or increased mobility.
 

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