If your doctor recommends that you use a walking aid while you heal or recover from an injury or a stroke, you need to know how to use your aid correctly. Crutches, canes, and walkers will help keep your weight off your injured leg and will also help you balance while allowing you to perform some of your daily activities more safely.
It’s natural to struggle with your walking aid at first because it takes time to learn how to use the aid safely but a little bit of practice will help you gain the confidence you need. The first step is to make your home safer. Simple modifications will help prevent slips and falls when using your walking aid, so make sure your furniture is arranged in a way that offers you a clear pathway between the rooms and removes rugs, electrical cords, and clutter of any kind as these can cause you to fall. Place non-slip bath mats and grab bars in your bathrooms and install nightlights between your bedroom and the bathroom.
The following tips will help you use crutches and canes the right way:
- The handgrips must be even with the top of your hip line and your elbows should be slightly bent when you’re holding the handgrips. When standing up straight, the top of your crutches should be about one to two inches below your armpits and your weight should rest on your hands and not on the underarm supports.
- When walking, it’s best to lean forward slightly and to put your crutches about one foot in front of you. Begin your step as though you were going to use the injured foot or leg but shift your weight to your crutches instead. Bring your body forward slowly between the crutches and finish the step with your good leg. Once your good leg is on the ground, move your crutches ahead to prepare for your next step and always look forward as opposed to down.
- When sitting, place your injured foot in front of you and hold both crutches in one hand. Use your other hand to feel behind you for the seat of your chair and slowly lower yourself into it. Once you are seated, lean your crutches upside down because they tend to fall over if leaned on their tips.
- When standing up straight, the top of your cane must reach to the crease in your wrist and your elbow must be slightly bent when you hold it. Always hold the cane in the hand opposite the side that is injured, so if your left leg is injured, for example, hold the cane in your right hand.
- When walking, set your cane one small stride ahead of you and step off on your injured leg so that you finish the step with your good leg.
Trinity Home Medical can provide you with more information. We specialize in medical supplies of every kind, including compression socks and orthopedic shoes, so if you are in Edmonton, give us a call today!