Elderly Couple Walking with Cane

When Do You Know it is Time to Start Using a Walking Cane?

Walking canes, when used properly, are great devices for improving balance and stability as you age, or to compensate for an injury or disability. However, it’s often difficult to work out if a walking cane is truly what you need at this point in time. Often, people considering using a cane will ask themselves: How do I know it’s time to start using a cane?

In short, you will know it is time to start using a walking cane when your body tells you to. More specifically, using a cane becomes a lot more beneficial when you need improved balance and stability while walking, or if you’re suffering from joint pain when walking without one.

Of course, circumstances vary greatly from person to person and everyone’s body has different needs. There is a big difference between an athlete suffering from a temporary injury and an elderly person suffering from balance issues.

That said, there are a number of common situations where it is advisable to start using a walking cane to improve your independence and quality of life, and we discuss them as follows:

9 Signs it is Time to Use a Walking Cane

  1. Joint Pain:
    If you feel extreme pain in your joints and knees whenever you walk and this prevents you from walking comfortably over long distances, a cane will help alleviate this pain. However, in some cases a cane might be enough, and it might be worth looking into walkers, wheelchairs, and other options.
  2. Back Pain:
    A painful back usually results in hunching over or similar poor posture. If you experience pain in your back during or after walking, as you seek a health expert’s opinion, it is recommendable to start using a cane to alleviate any further problems.
  3. Injury:
    You may have broken or sprained your ankles or knees. Resulting from the pain, you may find yourself dragging your feet – and this is likely to exacerbate any issues! A cane will help take the pressure off your legs during walking thus allowing the injury to heal faster.
  4. Doctors Recommendation:
    This is an obvious one, but people who have undergone surgery or have acquired injuries from minor or major accidents may be advised by a doctor to start using canes. It is wise to adhere to this recommendation, and any recommendation of your doctor, until you feel better and strong enough to walk without wobbling.
  5. You Need Assistance when Walking:
    If you find yourself constantly holding on to someone or objects such as furniture when walking, a cane will come in handy and give you more freedom and independence.
  6. Tiredness:
    If you are often out of breath and feel abnormally tired after walking, this an area where a waking cane can help you greatly. Canes provide you with support, making walking more efficient so that you can walk longer with ease.
  7. Old Age:
    Whilst aging comes with great benefits such as wisdom, grandchildren, and empathy – it also has its fair share of troubles as your body begins to give way and grow weaker. For example, your bones become porous thus weakening your knees and legs. Due to this, it is quite common to find cases of older people falling and complaining of pains in their joints. A cane will not only help an elderly person achieve more stability but also make walking more comfortable.
  8. Instability:
    When walking, are you frequently concerned by fears of falling? That’s not a pleasant way to live a life, and it’s something a cane can help with greatly. With a walking cane, both your balance and stability will be immensely improved and your fears will be mitigated by its support.
  9. Flights of Staircases or Uneven Ground:
    If you don’t think it’s time to use a cane full time, it might still be worth having one around to use on staircases and uneven ground.
    You are likely to experience the effects of gravity more on uneven ground or when going up or down a flight of staircases. For this reason, some people find themselves more unstable and prone to falls when doing such activities – and having a cane in these circumstances will help.

How to Choose a Walking Cane

There are mainly two factors to consider when picking out a cane. First, it should be strong enough to efficiently support your body weight. Second, its height should be just right. If you get one that is too short, you will end up bending too much to support yourself which will end up hurting your back. On the other hand, a cane that’s too long will not support much of your body weight.

Additionally, if you mind how your stick looks, you could get one which is creatively designed and decorated. These can be found online or in your local stores.

Conclusion

There is no time set in stone for one to acquire a cane. You can get one for you or your loved one as soon as you feel the need for support. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

Please Note: Canes are not a substitute for getting medical help. If you experience pain in your knees or any other health issues which may push you to use a cane, ensure to seek a medical expert’s opinion.

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Margaret Sellars
Margaret Sellars
Occupational Therapist Margaret Sellars contributes to Mobility Deck as an expert on mobility products like wheelchairs, scooters, and walkers. Newly retired, Margaret spends her spare time doing freelance writing from the comfort of her home in Maine. Given her extensive knowledge and professional background, Margaret does the vast majority of the writing for Mobility Deck - so if you have non-tech related questions, she's the one to ask!
Margaret Sellars
Margaret Sellars
Occupational Therapist Margaret Sellars contributes to Mobility Deck as an expert on mobility products like wheelchairs, scooters, and walkers. Newly retired, Margaret spends her spare time doing freelance writing from the comfort of her home in Maine. Given her extensive knowledge and professional background, Margaret does the vast majority of the writing for Mobility Deck - so if you have non-tech related questions, she's the one to ask!

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