In the United States, one in four elderly adults falls every year. Balancing with a weak leg, arthritis, or a limp may be difficult and can result in your good leg becoming tired due to overcompensation. If you’re having difficulties balancing and/or you’ve suffered from a number of falls, it may be time to consider a cane.
Canes and walking sticks: which kind to use?
The type of cane you choose depends on your customary needs. Each cane is different and is used for different reasons.
- The quad or tripod cane is best used for those recovering from a stroke or who may need additional support when walking. These types of canes evenly distribute your weight and can stand by themselves when you’re seated.
- Palm grip canes have a unique design to their handles, which makes them easier to grip and hold onto. Palm grip canes can be a great option for those unsure if they can properly hold their canes while they walk or for those who are particularly mobile. Palm grip canes are made with optimal hand comfort in mind and will allow you to grip your cane more comfortably as an effective means of support without straining the arm.
- Decorative walking canes are a great choice for those seeking balance as well as style. Canes typically have a very masculine look to them; however, custom walking canes may be created to give a cane a more feminine appearance. Additionally, for a sense of individuality, the handle of a cane may be shaped in a variety of ways including the shapes of animal heads.
How do you properly walk with a cane?
Once you’ve chosen which type of cane is right for you, it’s important to know the correct way to walk with it. When experiencing pain in one leg or if one of your legs is weakened, hold the cane on the side of your body that is strongest. When walking, don’t place your cane far out in front of you but rather place it a couple of inches in front of you so you may push down on it to walk forward.
Canes are meant to provide a sense of balance for their users and are made to provide mobility and style. However, if you are placing too much weight on your cane while you walk or your arm is suffering from too much strain, you may need additional mobility assistance such as a walker.