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Avoid Cane and Walker Injuries
The CDC reports that each year, 1 in 3 adults ages 65 and older falls.
Walking aids often can help older adults stay mobile, but it's crucial to use them safely. These suggestions can help you do just that.
Canes offer you balance and support, and when used properly they may help you avoid a fall. Canes can help if you have arthritis of the knees or hips, a balance disorder, or an injury to your foot or leg.
To make sure your cane is the right length, wear normal shoes, stand, and hold your arm with a bend of about 25 degrees in your elbow. Have someone measure the distance from the floor to your wrist. Adjust your cane to match.
To safely use a cane:
Hold it in the hand opposite the injured or weak part of your body.
Put all your weight on your "better" leg, then move the cane and your weaker leg forward by a length you find comfortable.
With the cane and your bad leg supporting your weight, step forward with your good leg.
Always plant your cane securely on the ground before you take a step.
Walkers provide more support than canes. They're helpful for people with hip or knee arthritis, moderate to severe balance problems, or general weakness of the hips and legs.
To fit a walker properly, wear normal shoes, stand, and hold your arm with a bend of about 25 degrees in your elbow. Have someone measure the distance from the floor to your wrist. Adjust the walker to fit this distance.
To safely use a walker:
Roll the walker ahead of you by the length of one step if it has wheels. If it doesn't, place it firmly on the ground.
Lean slightly forward while holding the handles of the walker for support. Then take a step.
Repeat the process.
Don't take the stairs or an escalator when you're using a walker. Use an elevator instead.
Take your time when using a cane or walker. With practice you can learn to use them safely and avoid injury.
From left: Drs. George Caldwell, Erol Yoldas,
and Daniel Kanell.
For information or to schedule an appointment, call 954-522-3355
Visit the Orthopedic Sports Medicine Website
Drs. Daniel Kanell, George Caldwell and Erol Yoldas specialize in treating professional, high school and recreational athletes, focusing on injuries to the shoulder, knee and elbow. While their emphasis is on sports medicine, they also treat individuals whose daily activities have caused damage to those parts of the body.
Treating these injuries begins with a conservative approach that usually incorporates rest, anti-inflammatory medication and possibly physical therapy. If those methods prove unsuccessful, they intensify the treatment program and then consider surgery.
“I like the fact that these patients are usually motivated people who want to return to their normal function, whether that function is in everyday life or a sport. So it's a pleasure to help somebody get back to their activities of enjoyment,” Yoldas said.
For more than 10 years, these doctors have been caring for professional sports teams. They also serve as team physician for three local high schools to help ensure the health and safety of student athletes. “We work closely with each school, educating trainers and consulting with them about injured players. We also attend the games to treat on-the-spot injuries when possible,” said Caldwell. On the collegiate level, they are involved with Nova Southeastern University, teaching sports medicine fellows and physician assistants.
Currently, the physicians are working on becoming involved with Broward Health's already established sports medicine program in order to provide coverage for all of Broward County's student athletes as well as educate the trainers. Their existing staff consists of 10 highly qualified professionals who have assisted the physicians for the last several years. Caldwell, Kanell and Yoldas said they want every high school athlete to have access to the same standard of care that professional athletes receive.
“Broward Health has a vision and plan to provide service for the whole county and we feel very excited to be part of that,” Kanell said. “We feel it's important for us to make our skills available to everybody who needs us.”