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Sizing, cutting & walking with a Cane

Thanks for your interest in our products & service.

OK, you are wondering about what cane to buy, how to cut it to size, what size to get for your needs and other pondering thoughts...
(did I close the darn 
fridge door? ... What the heck do kids like about R
ap music?)

Don't worry, we have your answers below.  

First think about you?  Are you regular height and weight, then look at regular canes. If you're heavier than some, look for extra strength, if you're extra tall, well.... look at the extra tall canes. If you'
re a small size male or a petite woman, we have you covered too.

You will see "weight Bearing and a number in lbs on most products.  This refers to your full weight on the cane, so if you're using your cane for mostly balance and support, you likely need regular size canes.  

If you really do need to lean hard or are heavy yourself, chose the Extra Strength products.  Consult your doctor or therapist for advice as they will have a better idea how much of your weight will be on the cane shaft when supporting you, at any given time.

Most of all, find a cane that suits your needs and personality. Style & fashionable canes are a wonderful accessory meant just for you.

Now get someone to measure you.  There are guidelines below, but we cannot stress enough the importance of a properly sized cane. Get someone to help you measure, it is fast and easy.  If you prefer to buy your can UNCUT, no problem as they are easy to cut to size later, but remember we cut it for free, and free is a great price!

Once you have read this page, visit our handle guide as well, since it explains why there are so many different handles to chose from today.
Here it is:  HANDLE GUIDE or there is a link at the top of the site.

Now on to the reading and if you get lost by any of it, we have old fashioned Customer Service you can call toll free at  1-866-217-8091 or you can email us at [email protected].  

We are always glad to be of service.

Sizing Your Cane

wooden walking.jpg

Correct cane sizing is required to get the best support from your mobility aid. The measurement is a simple process, as is cutting your new cane. You can also order it cut to size, a service Canes Canada offers for free. Just remember you can shorten, but not lengthen later on if needed.

An improper length can lead to more aches and pains rather than helping lessen them. If your
cane is too short or long, the pressure applied to the cane handle will transfer directly to your shoulders, eventually causing headaches and shoulder tension. Undue wear and tear on your wrist, elbow, shoulders and lower back can be avoided by walking with a cane correctly.

The best advice is to have your physician or physical therapist help recommend and fit your daily-use cane.

how to size2_v.jpgmeasuring cane.jpgIf no professional help is available, these instructions will assist you in creating a comfortable fit.

Find someone to help you measure yourself so they can ensure that you are standing correctly.

Put on the shoes you most often wear stand and stand on a hard surface.

Stand upright in a relaxed stance.

Choose the hand you will use to hold the cane. Normally it is the opposite of the injury, but in some cases it is the same. Talk to your Dr. or physiotherapist to determine the correct side for your situation.

Hang your arm loosely at your side. Your elbow should have a slight bend in it. Not straight nor overly bent.

The final bend to your elbow when walking with the cane will be approx. 15 – 20 degrees if measured correctly.

From here you have two options.

First option: with your arm hanging loosely at your side (natural bend), you can measure from the floor to the crook of your wrist right below your thumb. (The wrinkle that separates your hand from your arm.)

Second option: place your elbow at the 15 – 20 degree bend and measure from the floor to the centre of the crook of your wrist. (15 degrees is 1/6 of the arc of your arm when it swings from vertical to horizontal

Either of the above methods should give you the same measurement.

Cutting Your Cane

While gripping the cane shaft, (not the handle), twist the rubber tip from the end of the cane. If the rubber tip is too tight, work a squirt of WD-40 or a solution of warm water and liquid soap between the cane shaft and the tip.

Once the tip has been removed, cut the cane with a miter saw or cut-off saw at the marked point, and then replace the rubber tip back onto the bottom of the cane. To allow for individual differences, you should cut the cane longer than the determined size and check for comfort before making the final cut. (Tips add an approx. ½” cushion to the final height of a cane.)

Just remember, canes can be shortened, but not lengthened.

The final cane height should give you a slight bend to your elbow so you have a bit of a "lift off". See above for sizing instructions.

Congratulations! Now walk with a Smile & Walk in Style ® with a Canes Canada Cane.

Please note, all canes or hikers that have been sized or altered in any way before shipping or after being received cannot be returned for a refund.

Support vs. Balance

how to walk 1.jpgWhen using a cane for support due to an injury or disability, it is very important to choose one that safely supports your weight, as well as supports your hand. You may find the weight guidelines (petite, standard, extra strength) that accompany some of our cane selections to be helpful in deciding which cane(s) are suitable.

Many people who carry a cane or walking stick use it for balance or support and thus don't need one as “heavy duty” as they would if it had to support the majority of their weight.

Using an attractive cane, walking stick or hiking stick for balance, especially when walking on uneven or slippery surfaces, is a preventative measure to ensure many more years of mobility independence.

Please remember that these are only guidelines - we don't know your specific needs. If you have any doubt as to what weight of cane you need, please seek professional advice from your physician or therapist.

While a wrist strap can assist with moments you wish to use both your hands, it is important to note that any situation that may result in a fall could prevent your cane from falling harmlessly away from you during that fall. We suggest you remove your wrist from the strap during such times to avoid injury to yourself or damage to the cane.

How to Walk with a Cane

how to walk 2.jpgMany people don’t realize there are right and wrong ways to walk with a cane.

For the majority of injuries a cane should be used in the opposite hand to the injury. (recovering from knee surgery, broken leg or hip are examples though you should consult your caregiver for specific recommendations)

Walking with a cane in this manner helps to exercise the recovering muscles while still allowing for weight reduction on the injury.

  • When walking with a cane in the opposite hand, remember that it is to touch the ground at the same time the opposite foot does (weaker or injured side). This allows the user to optimize their gait.
  • The goal is to keep your shoulders and hips in alignment to avoid any further injuries or wear and tear on your joints.
  • There are cases where walking with a cane on the same side of an injury or weakness is appropriate.
  • If you have a muscular or nerve problem whereby the muscles just stop working properly in mid step or without warning, then a cane becomes a tool to catch your step or stop you from falling over. People who have MS often walk with a cane in this way.
  • If you are to walk with a cane in this manner, it is VERY important to ensure you don't hobble when you walk. Hobbling puts undue stress on the lower back and shoulders, and at the same time causes loss of strength in the leg.
  • When using a cane for balance, walking with it in either hand is acceptable. It is recommended to walk so that the cane and the opposite foot touch the ground at the same time. Walking with a cane in this manner helps to keep a better gait.

It is best to discuss your situation over with a medical or therapeutic professional to determine the best way for you to walk with a cane.

Lengths of Canes – only a guideline for purchasing

Walking canes are generally sold at 36” with some as tall as 44”. The majority of us will need to have our canes sized before we use them.

If you are seeing a physiotherapist, they will be able to measure you and suggest a handle style suited to your specific needs.

For a full set of instructions see our “Sizing Your Cane” above

The chart below will offer you a general idea of what size of cane an individual may walk with.

Please note, everyone’s body size is unique and they should be properly measured to determine the actual length needed.

Only a guideline

Lengths of Canes & Walking sticks

User’s Height & Approx Cane Size

5’– 5’3” 30”- 32.5”
5’3– 5’6” 32.5”- 33.5”
5’6– 5’933.5”- 34.5”
5’9”– 6’ 34.5”- 36”
6’ – 6’3”36” - 39”

Lengths of Hiking Sticks - Only a guideline

  • For people who are shorter than 4' 8", we generally recommend a 41-inch stick.
  • For people who are shorter than 5' 4", we recommend a 48-inch stick.
  • For people who are between 5' 4" and 5' 11", we recommend a 55-inch stick.
  • For adults over 5' 11", we recommend a 58-inch stick.

Remember, you can buy the full length Hiking Stick or Staff, then cut it later once you have a proper feel for its use. They are very hard to make longer later.

Weight Limits

When using a cane it is important to consider its weight limit. We have walking canes from petite and regular, to extra strength.

A petite cane is usually made for someone who weighs up to 170 pounds, regular approx 230 lbs, with extra strength for those up to 500 pounds.

Even though no one ever places their full weight on a walking cane during regular use, it is important to remember that we apply more weight to the cane in the event of slips and near falls.

This is why it is essential to buy one that will keep you safe.

Below are the general dimensions of each size. Please note the measures stated below are approximate.

Also, weight capacities of canes can very depending on the design and material used to make the cane, so be sure to check the specific product for details.

.....*** PETITE ***..........*** REGULAR ***..........*** EXTRA TALL ***..........*** EXTRA STRENGTH ***.....
5/8" SHAFT 3/4" SHAFT7/8" SHAFT 1" SHAFT

All measures are approximate