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People relying on canes fear falling more than with other mobility devices

29th May 2015

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

A study has found that more than a quarter of Americans use a mobility device such as a cane, stairlift or wheelchair, with those using a cane demonstrating a greater fear of falling over. Many of the people studied were found to suggest that the cane was not sufficient enough support for their needs, meaning that they felt it was appropriate to limit their daily activities. However, despite their worries, the study found that those using mobility devices were not in fact at a greater risk of falling.

Many people use a mobility device to provide assistance, due to impaired balance, weakness or a loss of sensation, which are all considered to increase the risk of falling. The study conducted by the University of Vermont’s department of rehabilitation and movement science has since said that this is unlikely to be true.

Falls thought to be unlinked to the use of a mobility device

Past research has suggested that there is a link between the use of canes and walkers with a higher risk of falls, but this does not specify whether this reflects a problem with the devices or the underlying condition that affects mobility in the first place.

Those being questioned in the study were asked about the use of devices such as wheelchairs and scooters over the previous month, and whether they had experienced a fall in the last twelve months. Wheelchairs and scooters were found to be the most reliable, with users less likely to be worried about a fall.

Canes were found to be the most popular device, with 16 per cent of respondents using one to help with their mobility. This is thought to be because they are less noticeable and cheaper than a walker. Nine per cent also reported that they had used more than one device in the previous month.

Image Credit: Garry Knight (Flickr.com)

This content was written by Emily Bray. Please feel free to visit my Google + profile to read more stories.