After doing some research, I found an article that urges RA patients to use a cane as soon as standing up and walking becomes challenging. Canes may protect the joints, even before significant damage is evident. Using a can also helps relieve pain in the hips, knees, and ankles.
It is important that your cane be the correct height. If it is too short, you will be hunched over and if it is too tall, your shoulder will be hiked up. Either will cause unnecessary pain.
To measure a cane, hold your arm straight. The handle of the cane should come to your wrist. When using the cane, your arm will be crooked at a 30 degree or less angle.
Also make sure the handle is comfortable. RA hands have special needs and the grip should not hurt when it is used every day. I have two canes. My first cane had a wooden handle and it hurt after a few hours of use. I now have a gel-handled cane and it is much more comfortable.
So why do we balk at using this assistive device? Is it because when we use a cane, our disabilities become more real, more visible?
While it is difficult to take the next step and begin using a cane, it is important for those of us who suffer from RA to think about long-term consequences. Use of a cane provides stability and few falls and also helps prevent joint damage.
- http://www.everydayhealth.com/rheumatoid-arthritis/using-a-cane-for-rheumatoid-arthritis.aspx by Connie Brichford