How to Walk with a Cane
For full details on sizing, cutting and walking with a cane, click HERE
Many people don’t realize there are right and wrong ways to walk with a cane.
Walking with a cane in this manner helps to exercise the recovering muscles while still allowing for weight reduction on the injury.
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)
- 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
|*** USER HEIGHT ***||*** APPROX CANE SIZE ***|
|5’– 5’3”||30”- 32.5”|
|5’3– 5’6”||32.5”- 33.5”|
|5’6– 5’9||33.5”- 34.5”|
|5’9”– 6’||34.5”- 36”|
|6’ – 6’3”||36” - 39”|