If you came to How to Choose a Cane - Part 2 first and want to read Part 1, click here.
Now that you know how to choose a cane and how to get one that fits, what's next? You just grab the cane and walk, right? What's so hard about that? Well, it's not that simple. Cir used his cane incorrectly for several years, before his physical therapist told him he was doing it wrong.
When going down stairs, do the opposite. Start with your bad leg. The cane and bad leg go down the first step, then step down to the same step with the good leg last. Again, take one step at a time.
It may take a bit getting used to. The best thing to do is to take it slow. Safety is key. Even if you feel funny using a mobility aid, just realize that taking this step will help keep you from falling. It will provide the right amount of support and stability when you feel off balance.
When Cir finally decided to choose a cane, getting used to using it was another story. This was especially true after learning that he had been doing it wrong all along. He still sometimes goes back and forth from one hand to the other. I guess it was because he was so used to doing it the one way, even though it was wrong, it still felt comfortable.
I'm not sure how much safer it was, but his physical therapist said that as long as he felt comfortable, it was okay. I could tell she wasn't very comfortable watching him, though. She looked pretty nervous and always stuck very close to him during his evaluations.
A few other things to keep in mind are:
Hopefully you now know how to choose a cane and use it properly. Another very important point I want to bring up again is to slow down and take your time. Do this especially if you are just learning to use a cane. Most people with MS have lived active lives, participating in sports and other activities. It can be hard to slow down when you are so used to moving quickly.
Slowing down and taking your time will keep you on your feet longer, literally. If you fall and break your leg, a hip, or even an arm, this will slow you down even more. And not in a way that you will feel very good.
So even if you choose a cane that fits you, one that helps you keep your balance, and supports your weight, it won't do any good if you leave it at home. A cane or any other mobility aid can't help you if you don't use it.
Make this one of your mottos, "Choose a Cane and Use it!"
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Cir & Akrista
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