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