Many people are often apprehensive about using a cane. Why? I’m not sure. Maybe they think it makes them look old? Or incompetent? Here is how I see it. If a cane allows you to keep doing the things you love - safely - why wouldn’t you want a cane? When the choices are leaving the cane at home and falling (talk about making a scene!) or staying home and being bored and lonely, I’ll take the cane.
First, find a cane (or canes) you love. If you think something is ugly you will be a lot less likely to actually use it. Next, make sure the cane is the right height and learn how to walk with it correctly.
Measuring for the Right Cane
Having a cane that is the correct height is important for safety and for your posture. Many models exist that are adjustable, but you should still know the proper length to use.
You can obtain the correct measurement by standing upright with your arms relaxed. There should be a natural bend at your elbows, just like there always is when you’re standing. Make sure you’re in regular walking shoes that you’d often be wearing while using the cane.
Have a second person measure you, going from your wrist joint down to the floor. This number gives you the correct cane length. So if you measure 32” from your wrist joint to the floor, you need a cane that’s 32” tall.
You can also estimate the proper cane length by dividing your height in two. So, if you are 62” tall (5’ 2”), you need a cane that’s approximately 31” high. For most people, the right sized cane is within 1” of half your height. But always opt to stand and measure wrist joint to floor when possible.
How to Walk With a Cane
Knowing how to use a cane when walking is imperative.
- Hold the cane in the hand on your “good side” so that when you lean on it, you are taking weight off the side that hurts the most.
- Move the cane and the bad leg together at the same time. So, when you take a step with your bad leg, move the cane forward in sync. Don’t stretch it out--move it the same distance as your average step.
When stepping onto a level surface, have your bad leg take the first step while you use the cane to steady yourself as needed. When going up stairs, remember the saying “up with the good” to put your good leg up the step first. When going down stairs, remember the saying “down with the bad” to put your bad leg down the step first.
Soon walking with a cane will come without thinking.
Find a cane you love at Ease Living or anywhere else. Here is a link to Ease's current selection. Take that perfect cane and keep moving. Tell me about your adventures.