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Walking sticks - John C. Kirk — LiveJournal

May. 28th, 2006

10:37 pm - Walking sticks

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As I've recently mentioned, I'm currently reading through the ambulance service basic training manual. One section in that deals with walking sticks, and I'm not sure whether I actually agree with what they say.

To quote from the manual:

These also can be used singly or as a pair. If used singly they are used in the hand opposite to the affected lower limb.

I assume that means that if your right leg is dodgy then you hold the stick in your left hand, and vice-versa (but it's possible I've misunderstood it). This seems odd to me, since I would be inclined to put the stick in the hand next to the affected leg, in the same way that I'd put a crutch under that arm. That way, whenever I would normally put weight on that leg, I'd put it on the stick next to it instead. Doing it the way they suggest, I imagine it would go like this:

[Assume that right leg is dodgy.]

1. Stand still, both legs together, stick in left hand.

2. Step forward with right leg, and simultaneously move the stick forward with your left hand. While the leg/stick are in motion, the body's entire weight is supported on the left leg.

3. Step forward with left leg, keeping right leg and stick in place. While the left leg is in motion, try to put as much weight as possible on the stick, leaning your body that way, away from the affected leg.

4. You will now be standing with your left leg in front of you and your left arm stretched out behind you. This seems rather precarious.

I've just watched an episode of House, and the eponymous doctor uses his stick in the way I'd expect. On the other hand, I gather that medical dramas do tend to screw up their facts quite frequently (e.g. the Casualty approach of doing CPR with your arms held out in front of you rather than pushing down from above), and presumably the actor doesn't have a bad leg, so this may not be particularly helpful.

Is there anyone out there with practical experience of this, who can offer any opinion?



[User Picture]
Date:May 28th, 2006 10:48 pm (UTC)
Not direct experience, but a friend at work broke his knee recently and told me that this is what his physiotherapist had told him for the occasions that he was using one stick. He commented that it seemed strange, but worked properly.

I think it depends on what you are using the stick for. He was meant to distribute his weight between the stick and leg, in order to strengthen the leg, so putting half the weight on either side of the body seems sensible. If you are being Greg House and have a properly bad leg (although Steve from work did grow a beard and get grumpy) then you probably just want support and would use the stick on the same side as the leg.
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[User Picture]
Date:May 29th, 2006 08:33 am (UTC)
I read somewhere that the reason medical dramas show CPR done so badly is that it's very hard to fake doing it properly without causing the victim some damage. I'm not sure the actors want to suffer *that* much for their craft ;0)

Of course that could just be a very convenient excuse ;0)
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