Crutched: The art and science of proper ambulation with mobility aids
Patients confounded with mobility problems usually necessitate canes to assist them with walking. Canes are widely used because of their functionality — providing balance and support, and decreasing weight bearing on the affected lower extremity of people having a hard time walking.
However, cane use does not immediately produce the desired results. Patients must be taught how to properly use a cane so that the above mentioned effects can be achieved.
MayoClinic.com provides the following tips to ensure that patients get the most out of their canes:
When stepping on the affected leg, it is best to pick up and move the cane in unison with the opposite leg. If there is an accompanying injury affecting the hip, the knee, or the ankle, physical therapists recommend a gait where the patient holds the cane in the hand opposite the affected leg and move the cane in unison with the affected leg. Doing so provides stability and additional support while walking.
When using the cane on steps, extra care must be taken to ensure the patient’s safety. If there is an injury or disability that affects one leg, the patient is advised to leverage the additional steadiness provided by railings. Moreover, the unaffected leg must be stepped up first, so that the affected leg may be relieved from bearing additional weight.