If you or a loved one begin using a cane, it's important to make sure the cane is in the correct hand and at the right height. Otherwise, using a cane that is too short or too tall can lead to greater difficulty walking and maintaining your balance.
Consulting a Physical Therapist will ensure the cane is fit for you and you are walking properly with it. This is especially important when going up or down stairs, or stepping over curbs.
Here are some tips to using a cane:
What side to hold the cane:
- Use the cane in the hand opposite to your "bad leg". This will decrease the force required of the painful or weaker side in order to help improve your balance and decrease pain.
- *There might be some exceptions to this rule but your PT or physician will determine that for you.
How to find the proper height:
- While standing, hold the cane in one hand with the tip resting on the floor. The rubber bottom should prevent the cane from sliding out from under you.
- The cane handle should come to the level of your hip bone or wrist crease with your arm resting at your side.
- Your elbow should be bent ~ 20 degrees; not too much and not too little.
What happens if your cane isn't the right height?
If your cane isn't the right height or not being used on the correct side, it can compromise your safety and functional mobility. If it's too tall, the cane won't provide the balance and stability to you need while walking. If it's too short, the cane may cause you to lean forward which can increase back pain and possibly lead to falls with your center of mass forward.
If you're interested in a consultation to determine if your cane is the right height and you're using it properly, email firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the form below.