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Donít Be An April Fool

April Foolsí Day is a lot of fun for everyone, but it could be dangerous to be foolish when using a medical device, even one as simple as a cane. So, letís review 2 things with regard to canes, sizing and technique. The first thing you want to consider is proper sizing. If the cane is wooden, place it handle-down, next to the foot on the side that will be holding the cane. Have a second person mark the shaft at the crease of the wrist. Remove the tip and cut the cane at the mark using a miter box to achieve a 90 degree cut. Replace the tip and the cane is now properly sized. If the cane is an adjustable aluminum one, follow the same procedure, placing the cane handle side down, but have the other person loosen the locking silencer and using the adjusting button, slide the tip end of the shaft to the positioning hole where the tip end of the shaft is closest to the crease at the wrist and allow the adjusting button to lock into place. Now retighten the locking silencer. A properly sized cane should allow a slight bend at the elbow when standing upright

Proper usage technique is often ignored and the cane is used more as a crutch and less as a walking aid. Proper technique dictates that the cane be used in the hand opposite the injured or weaker leg. In stride, the cane should move with the weaker leg, not the leg on the side holding the cane. Under normal flat conditions, always initiate the stride with the stronger leg. That also applies when stepping up on a curb or climbing stairs. When stepping off of a curb, or going down stairs, the weaker leg should always lead. If the cane will be used only for stability, no weaker or stronger leg, then hold the cane in the hand least used. If right handed, hold the cane in the left hand. Now go ahead and have fun.

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