When you begin to notice instability while walking, you may be prescribed a walking cane. The walking cane provides you with the steadiness you need to avoid falling.
The most common cause of injury among the elderly is falling. This can lead to breaks, fractures, and sometimes can even prove to be fatal.
Do walking canes prevent falls?
Yes, but you need to know how to use it properly – here are some tips on avoiding falls with a cane:
Have the correct type of cane with proper height.
Learn how to use it.
Maintain it properly.
Remove clutter from home.
But does using a cane prevent falls? It is still common for people to fall down even when they are using walking canes. Usually, this is because they are not using the assistive device properly.
Here are some ways that you can avoid these types of accidents in the future:
1) Have the Right Type of Cane
There are several different types of canes to select from. You will only be able to discern which one is ideal for you once you are more aware of your requirements:
- Do you have problems balancing or walking properly?
- Are one of your legs hurt?
- Do you need an assistive device to support your weight?
If you are having trouble deciding which one will be most likely to aid you, you should speak with a medical expert.
2) Have the Proper Height
In addition to the type of cane, you also need to get one that is the right size for you. This particularly refers to the height of the cane.
- It should be long enough to touch the ground but not cause you to bend over or to drag the cane on the ground.
- You might lose your balance and fall if your cane is too short, causing you to hunch over and lean to one side.
Most aluminum canes can be adjusted. Therefore, you simply have to ensure that the adjustment range can accommodate your height.
3) Know How to Use It Properly
Contrary to popular belief, using a walking cane does not come naturally to you. Although you may feel that you are using the right technique, it is often the wrong assumption.
Just because your posture feels natural to you, does not mean that you are doing it right.
This is why it is always best to get some guidance about how to walk with a cane. This includes walking on regular surfaces, climbing up and down the stairs and turning.
By being able to execute the proper technique, you will be much less likely to fall over while using your walking cane.
4) Use a Properly Maintained Cane
It is important to frequently give your walking cane a once-over. Make sure that you check all of the components from the very bottom to the top:
- The first you should check is your hand grip. If it is made of foam or gel, make sure that it is not split and is still intact. If the handle is made of wood, ensure that there are no cracks or chips in the material.
- The same goes for the shaft. Regardless of the type of material used, check that there are no cracks, dents, fissures, or any other deformities.
- Finally, check the base of the walking stick. The rubber tip should be undamaged and whole. In fact, it is a good idea to check on this part every time that you head outside.
5) Tips for Avoiding Falls When Using a Cane
Here are some things you can do to reduce your risk of falling.
1) Remove clutter from home – Make sure there are no loose cables, rugs, or clutter on the floor. It is safer to use handrails when using stairs. Walking aids could become clunky on stairs, increasing the risk of falling. Avoid wet areas, such as the bathroom.
2) Going out – When shopping, wait until the aisles are less crowded before you enter them. Avoid obstructed walking paths when you are outside. After a rainy day, stay away from wet areas like the entrance to a store. The grips on a walking aid may not be effective on wet surfaces, increasing the chance of a fall.
3) Consider additional assistance – Having additional assistance nearby can help a senior stand and sit safely, give them instructions on using equipment, and take care of any challenges they might face. With trained assistance, seniors can avoid falls and receive help with daily tasks.
The Bottom Line
In addition to these, there are plenty of other ways that you can stay safe while using a walking cane.
First, make sure that you frequently get eye examinations. This way, you will be able to see and avoid any objects that may interfere with you walking with a cane.
By utilizing all of this advice, you will be able to be much safer with your walking cane in hand.