Tailor-made cane can prevent falls

When it comes to needing support to walk or after a injury , it's not about using any cane. According to the Geriatric Society of the United States (AGS) it is vitally important to get a cane adjusted to the body and the needs of each person's use.

 

The president of the AGS, John Murphy, offers some recommendations to know how to choose a good walking stick :


  • Check the tip: it is essential that the tip is rubber to increase friction. Check it frequently and replace it when the plot is worn.

  • Get a handle. Find one that is comfortable to hold: a person with arthritis or a condition that affects their fingers and hands may need a special handle.

  • Fit it to your body. Standing, the elbow should be at a 30 degree angle when the cane is held next to the leg.

  • When the arm is next to you, the top of the cane should be parallel to your wrist.

 

The dark side of the falls


 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States, each year more than 47,000 older adults are treated in the emergency rooms of North American hospitals for injuries due to falls related to walkers and canes.

 

In Mexico, it is estimated that 35 percent of accidents that occur in emergency rooms in the country, occur in people of old age, most of them due to falls.

 

In the North American study, women accounted for 78 percent of walker-related injuries and 66 percent of those related to a cane. In addition, the risk of falling related to the use of a walker or cane increased with age, with the highest rate of injury among people over 85 years of age.

 

About one third of the walker-related injuries affected the lower part of the trunk, such as the hips or pelvis. Most of the injuries associated with walkers or canes took place in the home.

 

In the opinion of the magazine of the AGS, "the devices that help to walk are very important since they contribute to that many older adults maintain their mobility, however, it is important to guarantee that people use these devices in a safe way". To avoid falls among older people who use walkers or canes, professional staff must spend more time with their clients in order to adjust these devices.


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