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Walking aid use in Canada: Prevalence and demographic characteristics among community-dwelling users

TitreWalking aid use in Canada: Prevalence and demographic characteristics among community-dwelling users
Année de publication2018
AuteursCharette, C., Best K. L., Smith E. M., Miller W. C., and Routhier F.
JournalPhysical Therapy
VolumeePub ahead of print

Background Mobility limitations represent the third most prevalent cause of disability, affecting more than 1.9 million community-dwelling Canadians. Walking aids are often prescribed to reduce the impacts of mobility impairments. There are limited data on walking aids since 2004. Objective The objective of this study was to investigate the prevalence of walking aid use in Canada and to explore demographic characteristics among users of walking aids. Design The design used was a secondary analysis of a cross-sectional national survey. Methods Data were obtained from the 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability from community-dwelling individuals aged 15 years and older with a self-identified activity limitation, who indicated that they use at least 1 walking aid (cane/walking stick/crutches or walker). Prevalence estimates were calculated as weighted frequencies. Analytic variables included walking aid type, sex, age, province/territory of residence, and main cause of activity limitation. Results Approximately 1,125,000 community-dwelling individuals aged 15 years and older use walking aids, representing 4.1% of the Canadian population. Of these individuals, 962,290 used canes/walking sticks/crutches, and 465,340 used a walker. Users of walking aids were predominantly female with a mean age of 68 years. Limitations Self-reported results reflect only the perceptions of individuals living in Canadian communities. Analyses excluded individuals in residential or long-term care settings and individuals living on First Nations. Conclusions Since 2004, there has been a 2% increase in the prevalence of walking aid use by the Canadian population, which is likely related to the aging of the population. The high prevalence of walking aid use highlights the need for better use of existing resources to ensure that individuals are receiving the correct devices. Results of this study suggest a need to evaluate the impact of device use to better understand how resources should be allocated for prescription and maintenance, of walking aids and training of users.

Document URLhttps://academic.oup.com//oup/backfile/content_public/journal/ptj/pap/10.1093_ptj_pzy038/2/pzy038.pdf