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Avoid Cane and Walker Injuries


Avoid Cane and Walker Injuries

The CDC reports that each year, 1 in 3 adults ages 65 and older falls. 

Walking aids often can help older adults stay mobile, but it's crucial to use them safely.  These suggestions can help you do just that.

Canes

Canes offer you balance and support, and when used properly they may help you avoid a fall. Canes can help if you have arthritis of the knees or hips, a balance disorder, or an injury to your foot or leg.

To make sure your cane is the right length, wear normal shoes, stand, and hold your arm with a bend of about 25 degrees in your elbow. Have someone measure the distance from the floor to your wrist. Adjust your cane to match.

To safely use a cane:

  • Hold it in the hand opposite the injured or weak part of your body.

  • Put all your weight on your "better" leg, then move the cane and your weaker leg forward by a length you find comfortable.

  • With the cane and your bad leg supporting your weight, step forward with your good leg.

  • Always plant your cane securely on the ground before you take a step.

Walkers

Walkers provide more support than canes. They're helpful for people with hip or knee arthritis, moderate to severe balance problems, or general weakness of the hips and legs.

To fit a walker properly, wear normal shoes, stand, and hold your arm with a bend of about 25 degrees in your elbow. Have someone measure the distance from the floor to your wrist. Adjust the walker to fit this distance.

To safely use a walker:

  • Roll the walker ahead of you by the length of one step if it has wheels. If it doesn't, place it firmly on the ground.

  • Lean slightly forward while holding the handles of the walker for support. Then take a step.

  • Repeat the process.

  • Don't take the stairs or an escalator when you're using a walker. Use an elevator instead.

Take your time when using a cane or walker. With practice you can learn to use them safely and avoid injury.