Using a walker or cane can place a large amount of strain through your hand and wrist. This could cause pain from weakness in the wrist or overloading some joints and muscles. Sometimes it can cause compression of the ulnar or median nerve resulting in tingling and numbness.
Here are some strategies and suggestions to help;
• Size matters! Ensure your cane is an appropriate height for you. With the cane by your side the handle should be at your wrist level
• If you are using your cane for balance, you may be able to switch use from one hand to another to allow one to rest and recover. Otherwise if you have one bad leg ensure you are using your cane on the opposite side to the bad leg
• Look at the grip of your cane. Increasing the size of the grip or choosing a grip that moulds to the shape of your hand can help to disperse pressure
• Assess your needs. If you are placing a large amount of weight through your cane maybe a walker or different type of cane/crutch is more suitable
• Keep your wrists as straight as possible, rather than collapsing and putting more weight on your hand
• Strengthening exercises to improve the stability of your wrist and build endurance in the muscles
• Splints can help support the wrist in a better position and rest them to allow them to recover
• Padding and softer style gloves may help to soften the load
• Nerve gliding exercises to relieve nerve related pain
If you are suffering from pain when using a cane or walker, get in touch with one of our hand therapists today so they can assess your hand/wrist and make appropriate recommendations based on your needs.