Walking aids such as canes and walkers are used to help senior citizens stay balanced on their feet. But, if you fail to use the walking aid correctly, you could cause another painful injury even if you never experience a fall. How can you protect yourself from the pain of improperly using a walking aid? According to the experts at North Platte Physical Therapy in Casper WY, you should follow these tips:
Adjust the height.
Walking aids need to be adjusted to fit your body before you begin to use them. First, take a look at the height. The top of your walking aid should be the height of your wrists when you are upright with your arms straight by your side. If it’s not at this level, you will need to adjust it. If you don’t, you could strain yourself while using your walking aid, causing pain in your wrists and arms. Also, when you reach your arm out to grip the walking aid, make sure you keep a slight bend in your elbow.
Straighten your back.
It may be tempting to lean into your walking aid so it supports the majority of your body weight, but don’t do this. Keep your back straight instead of hunched over when using a cane or walker. Hunching over a walking aid will promote bad posture and will eventually lead to pain in your shoulders, upper and lower back.
Hold the cane in the opposite hand.
Does it matter which hand grips your cane? Yes! Which side of your body are you experiencing pain or weakness in? If it’s your left side, then hold the cane with your right hand. This may not seem right at first. After all, shouldn’t you support the side that is weaker? No! By holding a cane with the hand opposite of your weak side, you are shifting your body weight into your stronger side instead of pushing it all to the side that is injured or weak. Learn how to choose the right cane
Check the rubber bottoms.
Walking aids are designed with thick rubber bottoms that prevent slips. But over time, these rubber bottoms begin to wear down. Some may even fall off if the walking aid is old. Without them, your walking aid is not as effective in keeping you safe, so it’s important to check them on a regular basis to ensure they are intact. If you notice that they are beginning to wear down, or if the bottoms are uneven on your walker, purchase replacements as soon as possible to protect yourself.
At North Platte Physical Therapy, we’re dedicated to helping our clients learn how to properly use walking aids to prevent falls. But accidents happen, so if you do injure yourself during a fall, contact North Platte Physical Therapy
to learn more about how we can help you recover. Our staff is praised throughout the Wyoming and Nebraska areas for our commitment to our clients. We can fulfill comprehensive physical therapy services, and would be happy to customize a treatment plan for your personal needs.