01/03/2016

Using a walking Stick - Safety Measures for Using a Walking Stick

Once you have measured yourself correctly for the correct height walking stick and you are holding it in the hand opposite to the affected leg or side of you, there are some hazards inside and outside to be mindful of before you begin walking with a stick.

Starting inside the home, beware of carpets, rugs and door thresholds that have loose corners or raised edges, always make sure matting is firmly fixed. Wet floors should be avoided completely as even rubber ferrules can loose their grip on wet floors. Recently mopped floors, kitchens, bathrooms and entrance hallways should be dried and checked before walking on them using a stick or crutches.

Going back to ferrules, it is best to check the state of the ferrule on your walking stick every few weeks to make sure it has not worn down and if it has, replace it as soon as you can.

Many main indoor hazards can be avoided by having good lighting in your home. Energy saving light bulbs are great, but you need to wait for them to fully light before you can walk up stairs and actually see where you are going! Good lighting in your hallway, on the landing and up the stairs are very important to help prevent tripping up or over something in the dark.

The NHS advice for going up and down the stairs with a walking stick is to use the handrail and ensure the stick goes on the same step as the affected leg. The unaffected leg should lead going upstairs, and the affected leg when coming down.

For outside use, there are some straight forward and some unusual things to look out for when walking with a stick. Wet, icy, muddy and uneven surfaces and pavements need to be walked on with care and areas with wet leaves and snow are best avoided. Tiled areas and ground covered in slippery algae are also hazards.

Drain covers with the rows of stick sized gaps are quite a trap for the unassuming pedestrian. It is very easy to get your walking stick stuck in one of those gaps or even worse fall and injure yourself!

To sum up, being safe indoors and outdoors means being beware of wet surfaces, replacing the rubber ferrule on your stick regularly and keeping your indoor environment well lit.

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