Candi Canes and Walkers

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How to Hold and Use a Cane or Walking Stick Correctly

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It doesn't matter if you have an injury, or just a painful leg. Using a cane could be necessary and helpful. You should know how to use one properly. A properly used cane can help relieve strain and risk of falling.


  1. Choose the correct type of cane for you. There are five main types, and they are listed here in the order you should use them depending on your weight or pain.
    • cane
    • quadripod
    • crutch
    • pick up frame
    • wheelie frame
  2. Make sure the cane is the correct height for you. Generally, the height of the cane should come to your wrist when you are standing still and straight.
  3. Use your cane in the hand that is opposite of the side of your pain. For example, if you have a pain in your right leg, use the cane in your left hand.
  4. Make sure the grips and stoppers on the bottom of the cane are not worn or broken. Get someone to help you replace them if they are.
  5. Consider the functionality of the cane, not only its appearance.
  6. Select from the various styles of canes by considering the stability each offers.
  7. Choose a cane that is light.
  8. To select the proper length for a cane, stand up straight with your shoes on and arms at your sides. The top of the cane should reach the crease on the under side of your wrist.
  9. If the cane is a proper fit, your elbow will be flexed 15-20 degrees when you hold the cane while standing.
  10. Choose an adjustable cane if you plan to wear different styles of shoes.
  11. Make sure you have a good grip of the cane and that the fingers and thumb do not overlap.
  12. Shift as much weight to the cane as necessary.
  13. Make sure that the tip of the cane is in good condition and that it is replaceable.
  14. When ascending stairs, step first with your unaffected leg, placing your foot on the next stair up from where you are, then bring the cane and the affected leg up by straightening that unaffected leg
  15. When descending stairs, step first with the affected leg and cane at the same time and lower yourself slowly by bending your unaffected leg's knee until the stick and your affected legs foot are in firm contact with the next stair down, then bring your unaffected leg down to the same stair.


  • Cane length is usually about one half the cane user's height, in inches, wearing shoes.*
  • Example: Height (with shoes) = six feet = 72 inches
  • Half of 72 inches = 36" cane length source : go to
  • A crook shaped handle is the worst choice of cane for people with a lot of pain.
  • A t-handle cane is the best choice for support.
  • Discuss your options with a doctor, so you know which type of cane will support you the best.
  • A trolley is an effective way to carry items around the house, and give you support.
  • When using a pick up frame, make sure it is on the floor while you are taking a step.
  • With hip injuries, you should hold the cane on the opposite side as your injury.
  • Always take your cane with you.
  • Keep your free hand on the railing when going up or down stairs.
  • With a written prescription from your doctor, most health insurance will cover the cost of a cane.


  • Check grips and stoppers often.
  • Make sure your floor is free of clutter to prevent falling.

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