The cane was once a symbol of power and aristocracy.
In the olden days, aristocratic men and women carried with them canes at the race track and at the watering place. In the past, no well-established doctor would be seen in public without a cane – this being the symbol of the medical profession. Today, doctors and their patients alike would rather suffer immense pain than suffer from being seen with a cane.
We live longer nowadays compared to our forefathers. To grow old gracefully, we need assistive devices for seeing, hearing, chewing and walking during our twilight years. Canes prevent fatigue and a halting gait.
When buying a cane, watch out for these 4 important factors:
This assistive device can be a traditional wooden cane or a standard aluminum cane. Wood is lighter compared to aluminum. Prior to buying one that is made of wood, examine it for decay or splintering. On the other hand, those with aluminum material are sturdier and usually their length can be adjusted. They also do not easily fracture.
An incorrect length can cause pain in the back, shoulder, hand and/or wrist. A long length raises the shoulder and cause an increase in the elbow flexion. On the other hand, a short length cause the user to lean toward the device while standing and lean forward when placing the cane forward during walking.
A study by Robert H. Jebsen showed that this therapeutic tool can support 20 to 25 percent of the user’s body weight. The Jebsen study showed that the ideal length produces a 20 to 30-degree elbow bend. This ideal elbow bend, according to the Jebsen study, acts as shock absorbers.
According to Kumar et al. study, in order to achieve the ideal 20 to 30-degree elbow bend, “The cane should be measured from the floor to the distal wrist crease to provide the expected elbow angle.”
Another factor to be considered is the handle. It should be of the correct diameter and shape. A small diameter can cause discomfort. As to shape, the curved type is adequate when the equipment is used for a short period of time. The curved type, meanwhile, concentrates pressure on a small area at the base of the palm, making this type not appropriate for those with chronic arthrit is.
Equally important to be considered is the tip of this therapeutic tool. According to the American Geriatrics Society this tool should be equipped with non-skid rubber tips to prevent slipping. These tips should also be often inspected to see if they look worn. Tip replacements are widely available in pharmacy or medical supply store.