It’s estimated that 1 in every ten adults above 65 years uses an assistive device called a cane. Most of these adults use the cane to handle knee pain or balancing issues.
One study finds that using a cane can reduce knee pain related to knee osteoarthritis. Doctors also recommend a cane to patients after knee surgery as it can take the pressure off the affected leg by transferring a fair amount of weight to the cane.
If you’ve got a painful knee, start holding the cane in hand opposite the affected leg, and it should help you walk more safely and comfortably. This article will tell you more about a cane and how it evidently helps with knee pain.
What is Cane & What Are Its Benefits for People Suffering from Knee Pain
Cane is a mobility aid that redistributes weight from the weak or painful lower leg to improve balance, support, and stability while walking. A cane is used in different medical conditions such as after surgery, injuries, arthritis, or balancing issues. It helps steady the gait to take pressure off the injured hip or leg.
Cane is lighter than other mobility aids like crutches or walkers but isn’t as stable as them. However, all these medical aids have their own set of advantages. Therefore, the type of mobility device prescribed generally depends on the individual requirements.
According to Dr. Shraddha Jatwani, a Rheumatologist with Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia, canes are prescribed to patients who have unilateral gait issues or when the problem is mild. It’s considered handy for patients who suffer from knee pain due to a unilateral arthritic issue such as knee osteoarthritis or unilateral hip.
There’s more to its benefits, some of which include:
- Help people recovering from knee surgery
- Provides additional support while walking for people with lower body weakness
- Reduces pressure on the ankles, knees, and other joints
- It can be used on different terrains
- Easy to transport
Study Suggests Use of Cane Can Reduce Knee Pain
Knee replacement surgery is often prescribed to people with worn or damaged knee joints. When the knee joint is damaged, you can feel the joint pain even when resting. Also, you can’t enjoy normal mobility until you get it treated.
The most common reasons that cause this condition are knee osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. According to a study, using a cane diminishes pain and improves physical functioning in knee OA patients. The study also suggests that the daily use of a cane for two months can provide clinical benefits to those suffering from knee pain related to knee OA.
How Cane Helps to Manage Knee Pain?
Dr. Shraddha Jatwani says that a cane is suggested for gait issues or chronic pain patients. She says that canes are highly useful for reducing the weight-bearing of the arthritic joints. Therefore, it reduces pain and assists in balancing affected by impaired sensation or knee injuries.
Greg Hartley, a renowned physical therapist at the University of Miami, agrees with Dr. Shraddha. He adds that using a cane is often handy for people with arthritis or other impaired gaits like a knee injury. He addresses the cane’s benefit of offloading the pressure on the joints, which helps the sufferers to become more ambulatory and walk with more independence.
Tips to Follow While Using Cane
If you’re not choosing the correct cane or not using the cane properly, you may not experience all of its benefits. A few tips could help you walk with a cane even while suffering from knee pain.
- Proper Size: Choose a cane that properly fits your body size. You can go with the adjustable options to match the right height of the patient.
- Comfortable Cane: Besides proper fitting, you should also look for some more comfortability factors. It’s recommended to go for a cane with a soft hand cushion. The cane handle should hit the wrist when the arm is hanging at the side. Also, make sure to replace the rubber tip on the cane bottom regularly so that it doesn’t wear through.
- Hold On the Right Side: According to Dr. Jatwani, you should use the cane in hand opposite to the injured knee, limb, or hip, and you should advance with the affected leg while walking.
When You Shouldn’t Use the Cane
While prescribed for a cane, you don’t have to permanently attach it to the hands. You may use it during the arthritis flare or until you’re prescribed to use it throughout the orthopedic rehabilitation.
But you wouldn’t want to take it on uneven terrains or in a place you’re not familiar with. The cane is also inappropriate for major mobility issues or just after surgery.
There are fine shreds of evidence that the regular use of a cane can reduce knee pain caused by osteoarthritis. This statement is likely to be true for other causes of knee pain. The Osteoarthritis Society International (OARSI) recommends using a cane as 1 of the 25 treatments for this condition.
The cane is also considered a viable option to help one walk regularly as a form of exercise to lose weight, as losing weight is effective for knee pain relief. But you can bag all these benefits if you can use them correctly. If you need any help, ask your physical therapist or orthopedic care provider.
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