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How to Properly Use a Cane

by Margaret Dilloway
  • Overview

    Knowing how to properly use a cane seems like a matter of intuition, but it is not. For most people, intuition dictates using a cane on the side of the body with the affected leg. This is not the case. Using a cane properly requires a bit of thought and practice. It also requires the proper cane. Check with your doctor or physical therapist to make sure your cane is the proper height and has the right handle grip for you. There are many styles available.
  • Properly Using a Cane

 
  • Step 1

    Hold the cane on the side of your body that is opposite the side with the affected leg. However, if you are using the cane for general support, you can hold it on either side of your body.
  • Step 2

    Take a step with the affected leg, and bring the cane forward at the same time. Always move the cane simultaneously with the affected leg.
  • Step 3

    Take a step with the unaffected leg while putting your weight on the cane and keeping it in contact with the ground.
  • Step 4

    Repeat this process as you continue walking.
  • 2
  • Cane
  • Cane
  • If you slip while using the cane, choose one with multiple-gripping feet instead of a single one. If your hand becomes numb, try a cane with a different type of handle. Periodically check the rubber tip on the cane to make sure it is not overly worn down. The tips need occasional replacement.
  • If you slip while using the cane, choose one with multiple-gripping feet instead of a single one.
  • If your hand becomes numb, try a cane with a different type of handle.
  • Periodically check the rubber tip on the cane to make sure it is not overly worn down. The tips need occasional replacement.
  • If you are working with a physical therapist due to an injury, he or she may have a specific cane-walking plan different from this one.
  • If you are working with a physical therapist due to an injury, he or she may have a specific cane-walking plan different from this one.

References & Resources