If you have ever picked up a walking cane, it probably felt like second nature. It is almost as though it fits in your palm perfectly and you are completely aware of how to use it. It is this confidence that often leads people astray. In some instances, using a walking cane may feel like the most natural thing in the world. However, more often than not, individuals are actually using theirs incorrectly. This means that they are either not experiencing the full range of benefits or even that they may be setting themselves up for an injury. To help you figure out the proper use of cane, here are some of the mistakes that you may be making:
1. Holding Your Cane in the Wrong Hand
This is actually one of the more common mistakes to make. This is because people tend to favor their dominant hand. Also, in case of an injury or surgery, individuals tend to hold the cane on the side of the issue. What you need to do instead, however, is to hold the cane in the hand that is on the opposite side of the injury. It is this that will help you overcome any deficiency. Having the cane on the wrong side will actually not prove to be beneficial at all. After all, the point of the cane is to take stress and pressure off of the injury.
2. Keeping Incorrect Time with Your Cane
Think of your cane as your dance partner – both of you will need to have a matching rhythm if you are hoping to get anywhere. You have to match the movement of your weaker leg with the cane. This means leading with your weak leg. Whenever you take a step forward with your weak leg, you are going to need to carry the cane forward for that same distance. Both the end of the cane and your weak foot should be parallel to one another. Then, you will be able to put your weight on the cane and take some of the burden off your injured leg.
3. Letting Your Cane Drag When You Are Walking
It is a habit that many people have, letting whatever you are carrying drag behind you. After all, it can feel quite natural. However, dragging your cane behind you will not allow the cane to serve the function that it is supposed to. Also, you will be less likely to use your cane, every time you step with your weak leg. What you should do, instead, is to keep your cane by your side, at all times. This way, it is simply a case of swinging the cane forward when you need to.
4. Placing the Cane Too Far In Front
Just like keeping the cane in the back can be a problem, setting it down too far in front can also have negative consequences. At the most, your cane should only be a few inches away from you, when you set it down on the ground. Remember, the cane is supposed to help you with your balance. If it is too far away from you, you may end up overreaching and lose the same balance that is supposed to afford you.
5. Taking the Stairs Wrong
When you are taking the stairs, the process is a little different from when you are just walking around. Here, you lead with your strong foot. For instance, imagine you are taking a step up. Then, you will need to put your strong foot on the first step. Once you are properly balanced, then you should put both your weaker leg and then the cane on the step. If you are going down the stairs, however, make sure to lead with your cane, followed by your weak leg, and then finally with your strong leg. If there is a railing that you can hold onto, you should do so. In this instance, switch the cane to the other hand as you hold onto the rail for support. It is vital that you only take one step at a time when taking the stairs.
6. Not Having Good Posture
When putting weight on the cane, many people tend to develop a bad of habit of bending over. This is terrible posture for you. When you do place your weight on the cane, you should avoid either leaning forward or leaning too much to the side. Instead, whenever possible, keep your back straight. This will help you to prevent back aches and many other corresponding issues.
These are the most common ways that people use their cane incorrectly. Not that you are aware of them, you can correct this behavior when you notice it.