How to Use a Cane

By Contributor

Using a cane can be beneficial to anyone that finds their mobility or stability limited. Canes allow senior citizens and individuals recovering from leg and foot injuries or surgeries to move with the same freedom they have always had. Proper use of a cane is important. Follow these steps to correctly use a cane.

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How to Use a Cane. Using a cane can be beneficial to anyone that finds their mobility or stability limited. Canes allow senior citizens and individuals recovering from leg and foot injuries or surgeries to move with the same freedom they have always had. Proper use of a cane is important. Follow these steps to correctly use a cane.

Ensure the integrity of your cane. Prior to using your newly purchased cane, check that the handle and foot grips are securely fastened to the cane's body. If any of these parts are loose or insecure, return it to its place of purchase.

Adjust the cane if necessary. A cane that is the right height for you will allow you to walk with it without reaching farther than 6 inches out past your midsection to comfortably walk with it and will allow your arm to be at a 45-degree angle when you are holding the handle. Using a cane that is the incorrect height for you may exacerbate an injury or strain other parts of your body.

Bear weight on the proper side. You should hold your cane on the same side of your body that your injury is on. If you are using the cane for general mobility rather than an injury, hold the cane using your dominant hand and bear weight on this side of your body. This will make the cane bear the majority of your weight, as well as the impact caused by your motion when walking.

Walk with the cane. You should not feel like you are stretching to catch up to the cane or stepping ahead of it. Place the cane about 6 inches ahead of you, then step forward so that the cane is parallel to the arch of your foot. Remember that since the cane is helping you to walk, it should not be placed farther in front of you than the distance of one average step forward.

Hold the cane straight and steady. Keep the cane perpendicular to the ground with the foot at the base of the cane flat in order to ensure that it will bear all of your weight. Maintain a steady grip on the cane's handle. If you are unable to do this due to an injury or pre-existing condition, consult your physician about other options to aid your mobility.

Use caution when maneuvering. Obstacles like area rugs and floor lamps can obstruct your path and could be dangerous, so be careful when first learning to use your cane until you are comfortable walking with it. Also, walk slowly on stairs until you are sure you are stable with your cane.

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