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CANES - A SAFE MOBILITY ALTERNATIVE

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Many types of mobility canes

Canes are relatively simple medical devices that can allow individuals to maintain their independence by safely navigating in today's fast paced world.

Cane Sizing

The first thing needed to achieve proper functionality with a cane, but often overlooked or downplayed, is proper sizing. If the cane is wooden, place it handle down, next to the foot on the side that will be holding the cane. Have a second person mark the shaft at the crease of the wrist. Remove the tip and cut the cane at the mark using a miter box to achieve a 90 degree cut. Replace the tip and the cane is now properly sized. If the cane is an adjustable aluminum one, follow the same procedure, placing the cane handle side down, but have the other person loosen the locking silencer and using the adjusting button, slide the tip end of the shaft to the positioning hole where the tip end of the shaft is closest to the crease at the wrist and allow the adjusting button to lock into place. Now re-tighten the locking silencer. A properly sized cane should allow a slight bend at the elbow when standing upright.

Using A Cane

Proper usage technique is often ignored and the cane is used more as a crutch and less as a walking aid. Proper technique dictates that the cane be used in the hand opposite the injured or weaker leg. In stride, the cane should move with the weaker leg, not the leg on the side holding the cane. Under normal flat conditions, always initiate the stride with the stronger leg. That also applies when stepping up on a curb or climbing stairs. However, when stepping off of a curb or going down stairs, the weaker leg should always lead. If the cane will be used only for stability, no weaker or stronger leg, then hold the cane in the hand least used. If right handed, hold the cane in the left hand.

These few tips should allow the individual to safely achieve greater mobility and independence with the aid of this simple medical device.

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A cane is an obvious and basically simple walking aid. Picture this: many, many years ago, a grunting, stumbling wanderer is trying to walk up a rocky hill. Looking down, a fallen branch is spotted. In a moment of inspiration, he or she reaches down, picks it up and continues hiking, using the branch to aid in balance and lifting him or herself up over obstacles.

Over time, canes have been more than just a walking aid. They have been used as a defensive or offensive weapon. They have

This article is not meant to replace a doctor's, physical therapist's or other medical professional's advice, but is intended to just provide food for thought and some information.

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