It’s important to learn how to use a cane properly in order to protect your investment and your safety.
If you or someone close to you needs to learn how to use a cane, this article will put you on the right track.
It’s easy to be intimidated and feel out of your element when transitioning to a cane. You may even be tempted to just move around less because of the hassle. Canes seem like a simple mobility device to use, but it will take some time. Learning how to use a cane comes with lots of repetition. Once you get used to it, you’ll never look back!
First step in learning how to use a cane? Pick the right size.
The most important part of walking with a cane is picking the right size. If your cane isn’t the right size, everything will fall apart before it even starts.
Measure yourself wearing the shoes you’d most likely wear while walking with a cane. Stand straight up with your arms at your sides. The curved top part of your cane should line up where your wrist bends.
If your cane is too short, you’ll be forced to hunch over to get the support you need. Walking with a cane that’s too tall will make it hard for you to safely be supported while walking.
The three most common styles of canes are single point, three point or quad point canes. The majority of people only need the single point design to safely walk with a cane. The three and quad point canes are designed to give extra support for those who need it. If you need to put a lot of your body weight on the cane, then the quad point is the best option for you.
Instructions for walking with a cane
The first step to walking with a cane is to grip the cane with the hand on the strong side of your body. A lot of people incorrectly assume that canes are to be used on the weak side of your body. This mistake is also made with different types of crutches. Instead, your cane will provide you additional support on your strong side and allow you to drag forward your injured side with minimal effort.
The proper way to hold a cane is to start with your thumb facing your body. The back of your hand should be facing away from your body; this is the most effective way to hold a cane for support. Unorthodox grips may cause you to lose your balance unnecessarily.
To start walking with a cane, swing your cane and opposite leg forward at the same time. Move your cane about 2 inches ahead of you at a time so you stay in control. Stick with smaller steps until you are used to the feeling of moving with a cane. Eventually, you’ll be able to move faster while still keeping your balance.
Walking with a cane up stairs
Ideally, you want to only go up stairs that have a handrail. If you’re not confident in your ability to maintain your balance with a cane, avoid stairs that don’t have any place for you to hold on.
To start climbing stairs with a cane, step up with your good leg while holding the handrail with your free hand. Once your leg is up on the first stair, place your cane forward on the same step, dragging your weak leg up with you. Repeat this process; always establish your balance with your strong leg and cane before moving your weak leg. Again, a handrail will make this much easier and safer.
When it comings to descending the stairs with a cane, you can do more or less the same movements. Start by placing your cane forward onto the first step. Holding the cane with your strong hand, step forward with your injured leg while using the cane and your strong leg for support. This is basically the opposite of going up, but maintaining your balancing is the same. Always establish your balance with the handrail, your strong leg and then your cane before moving.
Learning how to use a cane will take sometime, but it’s easy to master. The tips in this article will make walking with a cane much easier for beginners. Remember to size your cane properly; otherwise you put your safety at risk. Walking with a cane will be smooth and easy before you know it!
Here’s the history of how white canes were developed!