Canes and Crutches are often prescribed to individuals who need assistance when walking in order to stay balanced and prevent falls. Perhaps you just underwent surgery and are instructed to use the assistive device for a short period of time with healing or this is your new normal. Either way, oftentimes you are sent home with little to no instruction on how or what to do now!… Let us go through the basic 101’s for cane, crutch, and walker use.
Let us begin at the basics with proper shoe wear. This means something comfortable, maybe a running or walking shoe. Most importantly the shoes must have a heel! This will prevent any slipping or unnecessary tripping. You will have enough to concentrate on with the new cane that keeping your shoes on while walking should not be a worry!
Secure the right fit:
Cane: 1. Place cane at your side. 2. Standing upright, keep arms relaxed at your side. 3. The top of the cane should line up with the crease in your wrist.
Crutches: 1. Placing the crutch on your side with arms relaxed down at your side. 2. The top of the crutch should be 1 1/2 – 2 inches below your armpit. 3. The handgrips should be at the level of your hips. There should be a slight bend in your elbow when using the crutches.
Walker: 1. Standing upright with the walker in front of you. 2. Relax your arms down to your side. 3. The handles should line up with the crease of your wrist.
Cane / Single Crutch Placement:
When walking with a cane or single crutch it is important to place the device on the correct side of the body! Unlike many movie stars, you want to place this on the side opposite of the injury or weakness. Example: Your right knee is injured, place the cane on your left side. This will allow you the largest base of support and help to prevent falls and improve your balance!