Choosing the Right Walking Aid
This article is going to be focused on helping you understand how to use your walking support devices properly. In case you are already in need of a walking aid, the main focus is to make sure that you use that device correctly.
We understand that using walking aids for adults might seem easy and simple. However, there are many details, which should definitely be considered and taken very seriously when it comes to adult mobility. Specifications, such as your height, weight and the type of injury play a big role in the kind of walking devices you opt for.
While we strongly advise to follow your doctor’s orders when opting for any kind of walking aid, there definitely are certain criteria, which will assist you to be able to make a better decision, if you have to make the choice yourself.
1. Walking Canes
Walking Canes: Walking support devices
There are certain characteristics, which can be considered for walking devices:
The most commonly known style for canes is the candy-cane walking aid, which has a curved handle. This option, however, might not be your go-to option, if you are planning to use your walking device throughout the whole day.
The handle is curved and has no support for the wrist. Therefore, it cannot be the most appropriate choice for someone, who is not a light user.
Nonetheless, there are many other options, such as four feet walking support devices, which offer more stability, and the handles are more comfortable to hold for a long period.
Conversely, these walking aids for adults have a certain amount of weight to them. As a result, it can be harder to carry these while walking.
The easiest way to measure the correct length for your walking aid is to stand straight with your arms hanging down relaxed. If your walking device is the right length, the handle would be aligned with the crease of the wrist. Going into more detail, the elbow would be flexed at a 30 degree angle when holding the cane.
The correct way to use the cane walking devices is to hold those on the opposite side that needs to be supported. The vulnerable leg and the walking aid should be on the ground simultaneously. It might take some time to practice and get how it works, but you will get used to using your walking devices.
Crutches: Walking aids for adults
Unlike canes, crutches walking devices are recommended for users who have a strong upper body and decent coordination. The two main options of crutches are standard and forearm walking support devices. Both options offer great support and feel very comfortable if used properly.
Several things to consider, when choosing crutches walking support devices:
When it comes to crutches, there aren’t too many options of styles to choose from. The only choice that you will really have with the style is just how much padding the crutch has and how comfortable the grip is for you.
The thing you have to be careful about when choosing crutches is that if it is too long, it might be harming your armpits by pressing too hard against them. This kind of misusage of walking support devices pressures the nerves of the armpits, causing multiple issues.
The way to know what you have chosen the correct length of your walking aid is to make sure you can fit two to three fingers between the end of the crutch and your armpit.
Avoid placing your crutches too far ahead as you step or they could slip out from under you. Keep the tips about 6 inches out from your sides and keep your steps to about 12 inches. Don't lean on the tops of the crutches when walking or standing. You can use several different patterns of gait with your crutches. A physical therapist can advise you on the one best suited for your needs.
Walkers: Walking aid
Just like other walking devices, walkers have certain criteria for picking out the perfect walking aid. Keep in mind these several points, when opting for walking aids for adults.
Two main differences are between walkers with wheels and walkers that you lift off the ground to move. However, if you are going to use your walking aid on rough surfaces or carpets around the house, we recommend using the regular walkers.
While regular walkers are convenient for use on irregular ground, wheeled walkers are great for balance and for people who are prone to falling. Walkers are great for taking the pressure off the legs and put it on the arms. Nonetheless, be careful, if you have joint pain or any kind of joint weakness. A great advantage that walkers have is that they come in foldable models. So, if you want to travel and be able to take your walker with you, you will not have any issues with that.
Any walking aid should be adjustable for the proper height. The correct height for walkers, similar to the canes, is for the top of the walker to be aligned with the crease of the wrist, when the person is standing up relaxed, hands at their sides.
When the height of the walker is increased, meaning higher than recommended, it adds to the safety for the patient. However, it will definitely make using the walker a little more difficult. With different cases the recommended height might be different. We strongly suggest that you consult with your doctor or physician before adjusting your walking devices to a certain height.
The biggest NOT TO DO with walkers is stairs. You should in no case use your walking support device, if it is a walker, for climbing stairs. The recommended way to use the walker is to put it one step ahead of you and just make the step into the walker, leading with the injured foot.
Grips and tips
When it comes to grips, the most common style is the rounded handle. This option is not the most comfortable, if you are going to be using the walking aid for extended period. Meanwhile, there are walking support devices handles, which are contoured. These ones feel more natural when holding in your hand.
One more thing regarding the grips is that you can always wrap some foam around any kind of handle to make it feel more comfortable and true to the hand size.
Passing on to the tips of these walking devices, there are different diameters and styles. When it comes to being more secure and holding the ground more solid, flat tips are what you want to go with. In case you live in a place where there is a lot of snow and the roads are icy, there are special attachments for walking aids for adults to make sure your walking aid does not slip on ice or get stuck in snow.
A very important point regarding tips is to never in any case glue a new tip to the old one. Make sure you remove the old tips from your walking devices and replace them with new ones.
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