October is Physical Therapy Month

Being able to move with ease can lead to a healthier, happier and longer life. Staying active and mobile can decrease the risks to health brought on by obesity. It also has been shown that prolonged sitting can affect health, particularly the heart. Keeping mobile and walking every day can also reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke. And safe mobility is even more important as falls have been shown to be the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries in seniors.

People often think of attending physical therapy after a surgery such as a knee replacement. However, physical therapists can also address pain, stiffness or weakness in your joints and muscles. Physical therapists are also specialists to help in areas such as walking deficits, poor balance and weakness causing difficulty with activities such as rising from a chair.

At times, physical therapists may assess, recommend, size and train a patient in the use of assistive devices such as a walker or a cane. These devices can be used to reduce uncomfortable weight on a painful limb, such as with arthritis, or may be used to help improve walking quality and balance. Some tips for walkers and canes can include:

  • The walker or cane should be about the height of your wrists when your arms are at your sides
  • When using a walker, your arms should be slightly bent and you shouldn’t have to bend forward at the waist to reach it.
  • Keep your body near or within the base of a walker; you shouldn’t push it from behind like a lawn mower.
  • When using a cane due to a weak or sore leg, place the cane in the opposite hand. This allows the body weight to be shifted to the more sound leg.
  • Periodically check the rubber tips at the bottom of the cane or walker. These do wear through and need to be replaced
  • If you use a rollator style walker with wheels, a seat and wheel locks, be sure to monitor these locks. Over time, these can loosen or wear out and need to be tightened or replaced.

Stay active and mobile to stay healthy and live longer. If you need to improve your mobility, the physical therapists on the Passavant Community campus can help. For questions or to obtain physical therapy, please call 724-452-3492 for outpatient therapy services.