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#1 Home Exercise for You to Kick That Walker to the Curb!
A lot of folks really hate canes. They may need the cane because they most recently had a surgery, an injury, or loss of strength over the years. With that said, People who use canes really don't like to stay on them because they feel so dependent/restricted to the device and just want to get back to their old self.
Today we are going to go over a few steps I like to use on folks who are ready to get off the cane. This type of approach has gotten 50+ clients off canes safely.
The first thing step is for folks not quite ready for a cane, let’s say you're using a walker. First, you want to build up distance with your walker. For a person be able to make it to a cane you need to have enough strength to get there. With a walker I usually tell people once or twice a day to walk for a couple of minutes and every two days, add 30 seconds. This will slowly build up your distance. When you continue to build up slowly, after a month or so your walking distance with a walker will increase to 20-25 minutes once or twice a day then you're ready for the next step.
The next step is trying to mimic a cane by using a countertop or table. You're going to take your arm and place it on the table/counter, and you're going to go ahead and pretend that table/counter is a cane. You’re going to move your hand forward, then move your feet forward, move your hand forward, move your feet forward, and you're going to do one lap around the table/counter. An extra lap will be added to this everyday. When you get to the point where you can do 30 laps once or twice a day then you're ready for the next step.
The next step is to get a CANE. You will continue to do your tabletop walks throughout the day, but in the house and short distances you want to use the cane. You will now have the strength available to you to do short distances in the house on level surfaces with the cane. Try to use the cane throughout the house during the day and at night if you feel unstable and have vision issues, I would not walk with the cane during those times.
After a couple weeks of walking around the house with the cane, go back to the table or counter and place your hand about one to two inches from the surface not touching. Do the same moment by moving your hand above the table, then move your feet, and repeat. This exercise will have you walking around with no support, but you will have the table/counter there just in case for your hand to go down and touch if need be.
You can build up your laps every day to the point where you are doing about 30 laps. Then you can start walking short distances in the house with no support. You can build that up and become comfortable not having an assisting device. Then you can slowly get back out to the community at that point.
So, that is the key to getting off that cane or walker. It's all about a very slow process, where you're getting those muscles in the hip and the knee stronger in a slow enough way where it has time to recover. But also, not quick enough where you are risking a fall.
If you’re having any issues with those progressions, feel free to give us a ring at (804) 493-3256 (accepting calls 24/7) to get a free phone consultation. During this call, you can get a better idea of your case and determine specific strategies for you to get your strength back the quickest. This will allow you to get back to your exercise, long walks, and just being more independent and mobile with family and friends.