A guide to adapting to using walking aids
Anyone could face mobility difficulties, because of many factors including age, ability or injury. There are handy tools to help people get back on the go but adjusting to using one everyday isn’t always straightforward. Here’s a helpful guide for adapting to a walking aid.
Reduced balance or steadiness can become a daily hinderance for those affected, and a walking aid could become a valuable form of assistance. Popular choices include a zimmer frame or a rollator, both of which provide a steady base for controlled movement. Walking sticks and crutches are also used, and they require changes in posture to operate successfully. For example, walking sticks and crutches tend to be adjustable, so they can meet the specific height requirements, and you shouldn’t have to stoop down to feel comfortable using the aid. Also, the stick or crutch shouldn’t cause your shoulder to raise as this can only go on to cause joint issues.
Users of zimmer frames or rollators should adjust the aid to suit their height and promote good posture. The point of reference should be the wrist bone, measuring the distance to the floor from here for the best size choice. Be cautious in the first few weeks of using your walking aid, as any noticeable strains could be an indicator that you are not using the correct height. The ferrule (rubber at the end) can also come in useful for measuring, as with non-adjustable sticks you can make a mark near it where it meets the wrist bone, then test your aid and adjust if necessary.
Alternatively, a cane can provide sufficient support for minor injuries or balance issues. They are popular choices for elderly people, as they can provide a simple solution to allow someone to walk as far as they want, unassisted. Get into a good routine when you start using a cane, by always ensuring that the top of your cane reaches the crease of your wrist while standing up straight. As well as this, make a habit out of bending your arm slightly, and always remember to hold the cane on the opposite side to where you need support.
Pressure on the lower body is reduced greatly through the use of a zimmer frame. They can be great for redeveloping lower body strength, so you should commit to using them whenever possible in the first few weeks to feel the most benefit. Again, standing up straight is essential, keeping your elbows bent slightly and avoiding a hunched posture. You should take it slowly when first using a walker or zimmer, and ensure to make regular checks on the rubber tips of the aid as when these are worn or damaged, they can be less effective.
Good posture must be maintained when using any form of walking aid. It can determine how valuable they will be in helping the mobility of the user. Furthermore, poor posture can lead to increasingly damaged mobility or even some annoying aches and pains. It is best to incorporate the walking aid into your daily life as often as possible to familiarise yourself with the motion involved, helping you to get the most out of the aid.