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As people age, they develop arthritis, stiffening of the joints, weakening of the muscles, and coordination and balance problems. To aid in balance and safety in walking, numerous seniors, as well as others who are recovering from various types of surgeries, opt to use a walking cane. While it does take a little practice before it seems "natural," walking with a cane can be done smoothly.
Choose a cane that is the proper length. Stand up straight and hold the cane in one hand with the "foot" of the cane firmly on the floor. The top of the cane should reach the wrinkle or crease in your wrist that is visible when you flex the back of your hand upwards.
Consider the cane as your new "extra leg" which is there to take some of the weight off of your "problem" or weaker leg. Hold the cane in the hand that is on the side of your "good" leg and bend the elbow a bit.
Lean your weight on the cane to take some of the weight off the "problem" leg and step forward first with your "good" leg.
Advance the cane and your "problem" leg at the same time to take your second step, while keeping your weight on your "good" leg. Continue Steps 3 and 4 to maneuver across a room.
Climb stairs one at a time by grasping the handrail with the hand that is on the same side as your "problem" leg. Step up on the first step with your "good" leg. Place the cane on the step beside your "good" leg as you bring your "problem" leg up to stand beside your "good" leg. Continue in this manner to climb a staircase.
Ensure that each time you place the cane tip on the floor that it is solidly on the surface and is at a 90-degree angle to the floor. If you use a four-pronged cane, be sure that all four legs of the cane are placed firmly on the ground before advancing your leg. Cane heights can be adjusted; make sure your cane fits your height. Look straight ahead, not down at your feet, to maintain balance and keep from pitching forward. Check the cane often for any problems, such as splits or missing parts.
Remove all items from the floors that could cause you to fall, including throw rugs and lamp cords; tack or tape down all loose carpet edges. Remove all items from the floors that could cause you to fall, including throw rugs. lamp cords. and clutter. Ensure there are no spills or other debris on the floor that could cause you to fall. Do not wear slippery-soled shoes or slip-on "scuffs".