Choosing the right cane requires a little more planning than most people can imagine.
Before investing in a cane or walker, seniors should first identify the reason they need walking support, if they need it to support their full weight and the appropriate type, size, and fit of the device.
Canes and walkers provide different levels of support for the person using them.
They can be beneficial to seniors with pain, weakness and problems balancing on their own.
They’re also helpful in avoiding falls and providing extra support when needed.
And according to Lori Ramage, physical therapist and the Joint Club Coordinator at Banner Boswell Medical Center, walking devices aid in widening the base of support, while relieving some of the weight from lower-body joints.
Freedom Home Care suggests that the best way to find the walker or cane that suits your needs is to discuss available options with a doctor, nurse or physical therapist.
One of the first things your healthcare provider will do is identify the purpose of the device.
Experiencing pain or arthritis in the knees or hips on one side
Having trouble balancing
Suffering from injuries to a leg or foot and don’t need much weight support
A walker could be right for those seniors who have:
Arthritis pain on both sides
Significant balance or gait issues
Weakness in both legs or need help supporting half your weight
It’s important to also think about the type of cane you’ll need based on the degree of support.
A straight cane or single point cane has an “L-shaped” ergonomic handle and is good for mild balance problems.
These canes are usually adjustable and made of lightweight aluminum or wood.
Quad canes have four points and are helpful for people who require full support of their weight. They have a flat handle and can stand alone when not in use.
A hemiwalker is a quad and walker combined. It has the largest base and provides lateral support for seniors who are transitioning from a walker to a cane.
If you are receiving post surgery home care, the correct use of your cane plays an important part in your recovery process.
Experts say the right device will not only help improve balance, but also take pressure off of sore hips, knees, ankles and feet.
Talk to your doctor or physical therapist about getting properly fitted for your cane.
Remember, when you do use your device, start on the strong side, shift your weight to your good leg, move your cane and the injured leg forward about an arm’s length with the tip(s) of the cane firmly planted on the floor.
Bring your weak leg forward, while pressing down on the handle of the cane to gain stability.
Bring the stronger leg up slightly past the first leg.