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The downside of the deathgrip

November 14, 2011

I’m sure you have all seen it, that white knuckled, rock hard forearm “grip of death” seniors use on their walkers and canes. Usually this is mixed with baby shuffle steps that people think help them walk safer.  Little do they know…

Can you smell sarcasm in the air around my post today.  I know I do. However, this is a very serious topic.

Of course, what is about to follow is my opinion, although I feel a correct one, is opinion only.  I would like to yell it out but I will quietly say:

“loosen up on those handles”

Holding so tightly puts all the focus into the walker instead of on your feel and legs. This type of grip almost always includes some level of forward lean with most of the persons weight into and onto the walker instead of straight down onto their legs.

In my opinion, this is a dangerous combination that reinforces bad posture, reduces the reliance on the persons own strength and stability and could lead to a life threatening fall.

In most of my classes I have shown seniors how to hold lightly instead of firmly onto their walkers which takes the tension out of their arms and shoulders and actually allows them more control of their walkers.

In conjunction we work on the heel to to rolling step and an upright stance. This takes the weight off their arms, creates a safer heel first step instead of chest first step and allows them to glide forward instead of stumble step.

I will be posting an animation soon about this stepping motion, but for today I repeat, “loosen up your grip” and you will have the first part of walking safer under way.

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