There is no one-fits-all answer as to when do you know it is time for a walking cane. However, if you are having questions about whether it’s time you or your loved one started using a walking aid, there are chances you have been noticing signs of mobility challenges.
If you feel that a walking cane will help you get through your day more efficiently and safely, it is probably time to start using one. When used properly, a walking stick can be an excellent device for improving your balance. Besides assisting in balance, a walking cane can help minimize joint pains by reducing pressure at the joints, allowing you to walk with less pain.
The body gives indicators when it’s time to start using a walking aid. However, many people ignore the signs putting them at the risk of accidents resulting in disabling injuries. To learn more on the signs that let you know it’s time for a walking cane, keep reading this post.
When Do You Know It Is Time for a Walking Cane?
1. Painful joints
Old age brings with it painful joints that can affect mobility. If you are experiencing extreme pain in your joints when walking, a cane can help reduce the pain. A walking cane works by minimizing the pressure on your legs, reducing the pain.
2. Back pains
Back pain among the elderly can be a result of poor posture, like hunching over. If your back pain worsens after walking, your walking posture is likely to blame. A walking cane of the correct height could come in handy in supporting your body while walking, reducing hunching by correcting your posture.
3. You are dragging one foot
In case you notice that you are dragging one or both feet, it can be a sign that your leg muscles are getting weak. Dragging your feet can cause you to trip over low obstacles or cause muscle imbalance due to misuse. If you are having difficulties lifting your legs than you previously did, it could be time for a walking stick.
4. Using the furniture for support when walking indoors
If you find yourself needing to grab the back of a couch or countertops for balance as you maneuver around your house, then it is evident you need a walking aid. While you could depend on your furniture to get around the home, they can’t help you outdoors, and a walking cane can be your best option for venturing out.
5. Feeling unstable or off-balance
If you experience a loss of balance, it would be best to see your doctor. Loss of balance could indicate much more extensive problems which you should not ignore. However, it can also be caused by failing muscles associated with old age. If a doctor establishes that your balance loss is limb-related, he or she could prescribe a walking cane. No matter the cause of imbalance, a cane can help you keep your balance.
6. Problems with stairs or uneven ground
A full-time cane may not be necessary for some individuals; however, if you realize that you are experiencing problems moving up and down the staircase or walking on uneven ground. You may need to use a cane only in the situations that demand it.
7. Doctors recommendation
Sometimes after surgery or an injury, your doctor might recommend that you use mobility aids. In instances where your injuries are severe and affect your mobility adversely, your doctor may recommend a wheelchair or walker and advise you on when to go from walker to cane. It would be best to follow the doctor’s directive even when you feel like you are okay.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know the right height for my cane?
The correct height of a walking cane is key to realizing the full benefits of using one. Some models have an adjustable height eliminating the hustle of having to resize. However, not all are, and you may need to resize your cane after purchasing.
To determine the right height for your cane, stand upright, wearing your regular walking shoes, and allow your arms to relax freely at your sides. Have a second person measure the height from the ground to your wrist, and the value you get should give you the correct measurement for your cane.
Is a walking stick the same as a walking cane?
No. Walking sticks are designed to be used temporarily and are optional. They are typically used in specific activities like hiking and put away once the activity is over. At other times, it is carried as a fashion accessory. By design, they typically cannot withstand much pressure and often feature novelty handles.
On the other hand, a walking cane is designed to support the user’s entire body weight. They come with solid and comfortable handles and are used every day as mobility aids.
On what side should I use a cane?
It will help if you use your walking cane in the hand that is opposite the side needing support. For instance, if your right leg needs support, your walking cane should be on your left hand and move together with the injured right leg to give it extra support and relieve the weight from off it.
How do I know whether I need a walking stick or a walker?
After some medical procedures or accidents, the doctor may recommend using a walker temporarily, advise you on when to go from a walker to a cane, and, finally, when to get off walking aids altogether. In such instances, following the doctor’s advice can be vital in helping in recovery.
So, when do you know it is time for a walking cane? There is no set age limit for acquiring a walking cane. As soon as you feel the need for one or believe your loved one needs one, it could be about time. However, it would be best to consult a doctor if you experience any of the symptoms listed above to eliminate the possibility of other medical complications and give you advice on the correct type of walking aid suitable for you.