How to Use a Cane – River Walking Sticks

How to Use a Cane

The Ultimate User Guide on How to Use a Cane.

Are you nursing a pain?

Do you have difficulty moving around?

And are you looking for the right cane for mobility and stability?

If yes, then you have landed on a treasure.

But before unveiling the treasure vault to you, could you do me a favor?

Would you?

Since you have nodded in the affirmative, let's begin.

Assuming today marks an exciting day in your family's history. That's your daughter's nuptial ceremony. As your only daughter, you plan to make this special event a superb one. But before then, you had your thirty minutes' routine walk. After covering half of the journey, your right foot slid into a ditch. Sadly, it got twisted, restraining your movement.

In this condition, how will you get back home to prepare for the mammoth occasion?

While waiting for your answer, let me keep my promise by showing you the treasure.

Let's keep moving!

Though the above scenario is imaginary, I hope you can relate to it. To get back on your feet, one surest way is to use a cane. A cane is a mobility device. It can help you deal with severe weakness, pain, or injury. It's also a suitable mobility aid for the aged and people with a stroke.

For a temporary or permanent condition, a cane is helpful. When used wisely, it can aid your balance, provide stability, and reduce pain. While enjoying these benefits, it will also make your walking feel safer and cozier. That's an extra bonus!

In the United States, about ten percent of adults over sixty-five years use canes. This statistic confirms their benefits and popularity. However, apart from old age, several conditions may force you to use a cane. Now, let's consider a few of them:

  1. a) Painful knee injury
  2. b) Painful hip injury
  3. c) Suffering from sclerosis
  4. d) Suffering from Parkinson's disease
  5. e) Painful joint fracture, etc.

You should use a cane or any suggested walking aid when you can't walk freely. These different mobility devices include walkers, crutches, and wheelchairs. Also, to enjoy using your cane, you must observe certain precautions. These measures will allow you to derive the most benefit from your new companion. Therefore, I want to share ten safety tips with you. They include:

  1. Always use the correct type of cane that suits your condition.
  2. Always ensure you adjust the cane to your height.
  3. It would help if you always put on your footwear before stepping out.
  4. Also, ensure your cane is firmly stable before making a move.
  5. Avoid looking down whenever you are walking.
  6. It would be best if you keep in mind things that can obstruct your movement.
  7. It's best to practice walking up and downstairs.
  8. You should make sure the tip of your cane is highly protected.
  9. Avoid slippery conditions.
  10. Whenever in need, don't shy away from asking for help.

With the safety tips in mind, let's look at the other steps to help you use a cane practically.

Consider the Type of Canes Available


Canes aren't created the same. This is because there are varied conditions they address. As a result, you'll find variations in the market. So let's turn our attention to the common ones:

  1. a) White Cane:

Don't let the name confuse you. I'm not talking about color here. White canes are mobile devices made solely for blind or visually impaired people. It helps them scan their area for impending obstacles that would obstruct their movement. In short, a white cane is a sighting aid.

  1. b) Quad Cane:

A quad cane is a mobile device that supports walking and stability. But unlike standard cane, it has four ferrules at the foot. Often it's made from lightweight materials and offers more support.

  1. c) Tripod Cane:

Seated on three legs, the tripod cane offers extra stability and safety. It's also an improvement on the standard cane. Because it's a practical device, a tripod cane is suitable for seniors and disabled persons. It's an excellent alternative to either the traditional cane or the quad cane.

  1. d) Adjustable Cane:

This unique cane gives you the freedom to alter your device to any height within a reasonable range. In addition, it has multiple shafts that allow users to perform this function.

  1. e) Folding Cane:

Folding canes are suitable for stability and easy walking. In addition, they redistribute the weight from the painful leg. They can be folded and kept in a backpack, suitcase, or handbag when not in use.

  1. f) Forearm Cane:

This is a mobility aid that offers more fantastic support to the forearm. It has a cuff that users can slide their forearm into. Mostly, forearm canes are made from metal or plastic. They have the power to move the weight from the injured part to the upper body. 

Consider the Styles of Your Cane

  1. a) The Color:

This style is optional. However, it wouldn't hurt to choose a cane that has your favorite color. In the market, you'll find plain canes and colorful ones. Well, you are at liberty to pick anyone that entices you. Primarily, colors are used for decorative purposes. Others are used to make profound statements according to the values of the user.

  1. b) The Grip:

There are different grips for different users. While some give support to your forearm, others are suitable for the fingers and palm. To avoid pain, choose a grip that fits your hand. Be mindful that it shouldn't be too big or slippery.

  1. c) The Shaft:

The longest part of the cane is the shaft. So, your shaft choice should be robust enough to stand vigorous use. Wood, carbon fiber, and metals are few materials that form the shaft of canes.

  1. d) The Ferrule:

Usually, ferrules are made from rubber. As a cap, they cover the tip of the cane and offer stability. For better traction, use a ferrule that is suitable for the intended surface. Though single ferrules are common, it isn't hard to find canes with multiple caps.

Consider the Length of Your Cane


Cane's length is essential for safety, comfort, and stability. However, there is no standard length for canes. So, the user's height defines the ideal size. To figure out your height, strictly follow the steps below:

  1. a) Put on your regular walking footwear
  2. b) You need to stand upright
  3. c) While relaxing, place your arms at your sides
  4. d) Bend your elbow at an angle of 15-25 degrees
  5. e) Ask someone to measure the distance from your wrist level to the ground
  6. f) Finally, the figure you get is your correct cane's length

How to Walk On Level Ground With Cane

Using a cane for the first time isn't clear-cut. There are few tricks you should learn. To achieve the ultimate result, consider the following factors:

  1. a) It's advisable to hold your cane in the most potent hand (i.e., opposite the affected leg).
  2. b) Place the cane slightly on your side and about two inches forward.
  3. c) Move the cane and the injured leg forward at the same time.
  4. d) Before moving the stronger leg forward, ensure the cane is firmly in position.
  5. e) Be gentle with all the steps you take when moving.

How to Move Up and Down a Staircase

We have learned how to walk with a cane on level ground. It's time to master how to move up and down a staircase. Ascending and descending from stairs is trickier than walking on level ground. But don't worry; the steps below will guide you to move safely.

  1. a) When available, hold the handrail for support.
  2. b) Now, move up with the stronger leg first.
  3. c) Then, follow up with the weaker leg and the cane at the same time.
  4. d) Finally, repeat until you get to the top of the staircase.

To move downstairs with your cane, follow these simple steps below:

  1. a) For support, hold the handrail when available.
  2. b) Now, with the cane in a secure position, move your stronger leg first.
  3. c) Then, move the weaker leg and the cane at the same time.
  4. d) Finally, repeat the process until you get to the base of the stairs

When Should I Start Using a Cane?

There is no specific day and time for using a cane. So you can start today, tomorrow, or whenever it pleases you. It all depends on whether you need help with your movement. For instance, when you need extra stability, support, or balance when walking. I hope you get it!

How Long Should a Cane Be?

Again, this is a personal issue. There is no standard length for canes. Depending on the user, it can be long or short. Therefore, the ideal size of your cane is the distance between your wrist joint and the floor. When taking the measurement, try to stand in an upright position.

Is Walking Good for Bad Knee?

A bad knee is the injured one or the affected knee. Often, it's called the weaker or bad knee. Well, walking with a bad knee isn't a bad idea. However, take advice from your doctor. Walking is extremely powerful: it's a low activity that will improve your muscles. In addition, it can speed up your recovery process when combined well with a cane.

Do Walking Sticks Help Knees?

From personal experience, I will say an emphatic yes to this question. Canes are extremely helpful on all joint pains, including knees. When you walk with a cane, the stress on the knee is taken up by the cane. So you will experience less pain, increase movement, and faster healing.

When Using a Cane Which Leg Goes First?

This is a brilliant question to keep you safe. When you are walking on level ground, it's advisable to start with your weaker leg. Then, you follow up with the stronger one. In contrast, take a fresh approach when descending from stairs. You need to start with the stronger leg before moving the cane and the weaker leg together. In the same light, repeat these steps when moving up the stairs.

Why Use a Cane On the Opposite Side of the Injury?

I don't think you want to complicate issues here. This is a basic rule to ensure your safety and nothing else. In addition, having the cane in the opposite hand frees the weight from the affected leg. In effect, this lessens the weight on the injured and provides you with utmost support.

Do You Need a Prescription to Use a Cane?

My candid answer is yes and no. First, it's advisable to get a note from your doctor. Why? A doctor is an expert who can guide you through buying the most suitable cane for your situation. It takes away the guesswork and saves you time and money. However, when you know what is best for you, it's no crime to make a purchase. Also, our experts can help you with this decision.

How to Enjoy Using Your Cane for Maximum Safety and Stability

  1. Use a cane only when there is a need for it.
  2. Use a cane that is suitable for your height.
  3. Always hold the cane in the correct hand (i.e., opposite the weaker leg).
  4. Try to always keep your cane closer to you.
  5. Always bend your elbow at an angle of 15-20 degrees.
  6. Always hold the handrail when it's available.
  7. Never be in a hurry when walking with your cane.
  8. Try to use a cane with a wrist strap.
  9. Be mindful of slippery floors and other obstacles.
  10. Regularly, try to change the rubber stopper at the tip of your cane.

My Closing Remarks On Canes

Injuries, like the weather, are unpredictable. But when they occur, there are remedies for them. For instance, when an injury restricts your movement, a cane can be very helpful. Using a cane would improve your walking, give you wonderful balance, and keep you safe.

A cane can also quicken your healing process. Note, however, that the effective use of a cane depends on several factors. You need to consider the types, styles, length, and where to use them. These factors are highly vital for your safety and comfort, so don't compromise on them.

Always ask for help. And don't ignore your doctor if your cane isn't providing the needed aid.