How to Correctly Fit and Use a Cane

Using a Cane Properly is Important: Get the Right Fit and Follow These Instructions When Walking or Using Stairs

Proper fitting of a Cane:

  • Adjust the height so the top of the handle is at the crease of your wrist, while hanging your arm and hand by your side.
  • Be sure to have good posture, standing upright and naturally.
  • Most aluminum styles are adjustable (be sure to properly secured and tightened prior to applying weight).
  • Wooden ones may need to be cut down to the right length. It’s always a good idea to double-check your measurement before cutting.

Follow these steps for correct use:

  1. Hold the cane on your good or strong side. It is a common mistake to hold it on the weaker side.
  2. Move the cane and plant it firmly at the same time as you step with the weaker side. By using it simultaneously with the weak leg, it provides the necessary support. Avoid swinging it out too far in front as this makes it less effective in sharing the weight load.

Going Up Stairs:

  1. Be sure to face the stairs squarely (do not turn your body sideways).
  2. Be sure to hold the handrail if one is available. Hold the cane with the other hand.
  3. When going up stairs, move your good leg up first.
  4. Move the weaker leg with the cane simultaneously up to the same stair as the good leg.

Going Down Stairs:

  1. Be sure to face the stairs squarely (do not turn your body sideways).
  2. Be sure to hold the handrail if one is available. Hold the cane with the other hand.
  3. When going down stairs, start with the cane first and follow with your weaker leg.
  4. Finally move your strong leg down to the same step.

Other Tips:

  • Be sure it always has a proper tip. A rubber tip is a good choice for normal use.
  • A prong-tip may be more effective for winter conditions when snow and ice cover the ground.