How to Use Walking Aids
The use of walking aids such as crutches, canes and walkers can help keep an injured or elderly person on her feet without the help of another person. Knowing how to use your walking aid and having the proper fit can help prevent falls, the "Journal of the American Geriatrics Society" reports --- particularly in senior citizens. See a physical therapist for help in determining the proper walking aid for your situation, and to ensure that you are using the aid correctly.
Place the top of the crutches 1 to 1 1/2 inches below your armpits. If the top of the crutches are too high, adjust the height of your crutches by pushing the adjuster buttons in and pushing or pulling the end of the crutches until the adjuster buttons click.
Adjust the handgrips of your crutches so they are even with your hip line. Unscrew the wing nut and move the handgrips up or down until they are in the correct position, then screw the wing nut back onto the handgrip.
Place the crutches slightly ahead of you. Begin to step as if you were going to use your injured leg but transfer your weight to your crutches.
Step forward with your uninjured leg. Continue to use your crutches instead of your injured leg for each step.
Place your cane next to you on the side opposite your injured or weak leg. The top of your cane should reach the fold in your wrist, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons advises.
Swing your cane and your injured leg out at the same time. Both the cane and your foot should hit the ground at the same time. Your steps with your injured leg must remain small.
Complete a normal step with your uninjured leg.
Place your walker one step ahead of you. Get a firm grip on the walker and ensure that its legs are firmly on level ground before attempting to move forward.
Take small steps into your walker. Do not walk up to the front bar of the walker, because this can cause you to lose your balance.
Place your walker ahead of you again and continue to walk forward. If you need to turn, use many small steps rather than trying to complete a turn while only moving your walker once.
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