About 4.8 million Americans (70% of mobility device users) walk with a cane, making canes the most widely used mobility devices in the United States. Custom walking canes have countless uses that enhance safety and mobility, but it can be difficult to determine whether or not you actually need one. If you're not sure whether or not you need mobility assistance with a walking cane, it's important to ask yourself some questions to gain some insight. Here are just a few questions to ask yourself to determine whether or not you could benefit from a cane for walking.
Can you normally walk without pain on a day-to-day basis?
First and foremost, you need to consider the amount of pain you feel while walking, if any. It's normal to feel pain or have difficulty walking after certain short-term injuries, but if you suffer from pain while walking for another reason, a walking cane may certainly ease this pain and make it more comfortable for you to walk. For example, more than one-fifth (22.3%) of cane users cite osteoarthritis as the main cause of their limited mobility. Evaluating your typical pain level is essential to determining your potential benefits from a walking cane, but keep in mind that it isn't the only indicator of limited mobility.
Do you ever feel unbalanced or unstable while walking?
Even if you don't experience everyday pain, you may still benefit from the use of a cane. Dizziness is also a common cause of falls and injuries in the elderly: two of the most common causes of falls in the elderly are unsteadiness or dizziness when standing up or walking. If you ever feel unsafe or at risk of injury while walking due to dizziness, custom walking canes can maximize both your safety and mobility.
Do you have difficulty going up and down stairs?
If you ever struggle to get up or down stairs, even if they're not a full staircase, you'll definitely benefit from a walking cane, which will help to evenly distribute your weight and provide additional comfort and support. Even if you don't have stairs in your home, it may be useful to use a walking cane when going out in public.
Ultimately, understanding the mobility issues that warrant the need for a cane or walking stick is the best way to make a well-informed decision regarding your accessibility needs.