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Using a Cane

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Using a cane

If you are using a cane because one leg is weak or painful, hold the cane on the opposite side from the weak or painful leg. For example, if your right hip is sore, hold the cane in your left hand.

If you are using the cane for a little help with balance and stability, hold it in the hand you use less. If you are right-handed, you'll probably want to hold the cane in your left hand to leave your right hand free for other things.

Hold the cane close to your body so you can push straight down on it. If you feel as though you need to put a lot of weight on the cane because your balance is not good or you have significant pain or weakness, talk to your doctor about trying crutches or a walker.

Be sure your cane fits you. When you stand up in your normal posture with the cane tip on the ground, the handle of the cane should be next to the top of your leg. Your elbow should be slightly bent.

A cane can help if you have minor problems with balance or steadiness on your feet. It can also help take a little weight off one leg by shifting some weight to the cane. Your doctor may recommend a cane if you just need a little help walking comfortably and safely.

To walk using a cane

The best way to think about walking with a cane is that you are taking normal steps and just moving the cane when you would normally swing your arm forward.

Move the cane at the same time as the opposite leg, just as though you were swinging your arm. For example, if you are holding the cane in your left hand, move the cane forward when you step with your right foot. If you are using the cane because of a painful or weak leg, you will be moving that leg at the same time as the cane.

  1. Set the cane comfortably ahead of you, so it is even with the foot you are stepping with. Don't lean forward to reach farther.
  2. Step past the cane with the other foot.
  3. Repeat.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 08, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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