Seniors Mobility Aids

How to Use a Cane Correctly

Written by Dayna C
Last Updated :

Are you grasping for any kind of support while walking?

Have you experienced instability and weakness in your legs recently?

If your answer is yes, then you probably already came to an idea of using a cane for stability.

A cane will provide you with stability and steadiness in case you need additional control and freedom while walking.

On the other hand, people with injuries frequently grasp for a cane as it reduces pain and gives extra support and balance when used correctly.

Now we came to the most important question here – how to use a cane correctly at all?

Where Is The Catch with Using a Cane?

And how to use a cane?


Once you start feeling pain in your limbs and joints while walking or even by making a slight move, it is about time to get yourself a cane.

You don’t have to give up your ordinary activities just because you are afraid of a fall or an injury.

A cane will help you complete simple daily tasks easier, walk freely, climb up or down the stairs without fear of falling.

Do you ever ask yourself where is the catch with using a cane?

Can something so simple as a cane help us truly with overcoming physical barriers?

A can certainly can help with walking and moving a lot, but in some cases, it can’t replace crutches or other medical devices that are meant for more severe conditions.

If you are experiencing walking or climbing issues, a cane will do the job.

For example, if you have hip pain or a minor injury of the lower extremities, a cane is a perfect device for you.

It actually takes the weight off your hips and reduces the pressure that causes pain.

Cartilage loss is the most common cause of bone pain, especially in the knees and hips.

A cane reduces pressure by providing you with support and by preventing eventual flare-ups.

This way you can stand and walk freely and get less tired while moving.

Related: Does a Cane Help With Hip Pain?

How to Use a Cane Correctly


There are plenty of nicely designed and stylish canes on the market, which is great, as you can pick the one that will feel and look great.

A cane can be a cute accessory to older people’s wardrobe, while it helps the younger ones regain physical functions.

However, you should still be careful when choosing one.

Don’t let the beauty and design overwhelm you, as your goal is to find a well-suited and functional cane.

If a cane doesn’t have appropriately shaped handle, it won’t distribute weight properly.

This might even cause nerve compress in your hand!

Find more about this below.

You should know that it is not enough just to own a cane and get rid of the pain immediately.

It might happen that you already bought a cane but don’t see any effects of using it even after a couple of weeks.

A cane truly offers many benefits while walking, but you can’t know it if you are not using it correctly.

There are two possible reasons why you are still experiencing pain:

  • You are not using your cane correctly,
  • Your physical condition requires a device that provides more support and assistance.

Try applying techniques on how to use a cane correctly we will discuss down below.

You will feel the improvement , or you will know that you should ask for a doctor’s opinion and other devices for your condition.

Let’s get to the point – how to use a cane correctly.

First things first – in order to use a cane correctly you need the one that fits you.

That means you need a cane that will provide good grip and optimal height in the first place.

If you feel like you are missing out a little bit, it might be that your cane’s height is not set to correct.

Try to level up or lower down your cane so that the top of it touches your wrist.

Lay your hand aside during this test. In case it still doesn’t fit right, here is what you can do more.

When we say that you should set the height of a cane that means you need an adjustable cane with a soft grip.

For example, wooden canes are so classy and stylish but are not easy to hold and are not adjustable.

When holding a cane, you want one that feels like it is molded to your hand.

For example, people with arthritic hands will love a cane with a larger grip.

You can also choose between offset and round handles, as both are okay.


This might be the most important tip anyone can give you about using a cane.

If you want to provide support to the injured side of the body, or the one in pain, you should always use your cane on the uninjured side of the body.

Walking like this will feel more natural.

This sounds pretty logical, right?

If you are holding a cane on your weak side, you will rely on this side more and cause severe pain, which is definitely something you want to avoid.

You want to put pressure on your healthy side and switch the pressure there.

Once your stronger side gets additional support, the injured one will feel much relief.

Another tip we can give you is to always make the first step with your good, healthy leg first.

Then your injured or affected leg will follow, while you use your cane simultaneously.

So, what did we learn today about using a cane?

If your left leg is in pain, hold your cane in your right leg and always take the step with your light leg first in this case.

As you can see, a cane is a simple device to use once you get into a routine.

We told you what is the most important thing to pay attention to, but here are some more useful tips on how to use a cane correctly.

  • A cane provides great assistance when climbing stairs too.
  • Let your good leg lead again and plant it firmly on the stair, then follow with a cane and your injured or weaker leg.
  • However, when you are going down the stairs, step with your weaker leg first, then goes the cane, and the healthy leg.
  • Sitting down onto a chair requires different moves, depending on which different types of canes you are using – quad or standard cane.
  • First of all, you should feel the chair is touching the back of your legs before sitting down.

If you are using a quad cane, grab the chair arm with both hands and then ease down into the chair slowly.

When using a standard cane, grab the armrest with one hand, while holding the cane in the other one, then sit down.

  • When walking with a cane, make smaller steps, at least for the beginning.
  • It certainly provides you with more stability, but it will take a couple of days to get used to it.
  • Don’t look at the floor all the time when walking with a cane, as you might overlook an object or an obstacle in front of you.
  • Look up to see if it is safe and then keep moving. After all, you don’t want an additional injury.

It has always been better to prevent a fall or an injury than to cure one.

You should still be careful, even when using a cane.

Make sure that you are using a cane with grooved rubber tips.

This means both leg bottoms should have rubber tips.

Otherwise, you are exposing yourself to a risk of slipping and falling.

Once you notice one of your tips is worn off, change them as soon as you can.

Throw rugs and waxed floors are risky and slippery so you should avoid them as much as you can.

You want to wear low-heeled shoes when walking with a cane.

This will give you even more support while walking.

You want to walk in an upright position as improper posture can hinder the benefit of a cane.


We tried to collect as many as possible great tips on how to use a cane correctly.

You want to get the maximum benefit of your device, and that is why you should follow up on our guide.

It might be necessary to try out all of these pieces of advice to convince yourself you feel the difference.

It must have been that you struggled with balance and walking freely before, but with these small changes on using a cane, you will feel much safer and better in just a couple of days.

As we already mentioned, if you don’t feel the improvement in walking and reduction of the pain in your hips, knees, and feet after applying our tips on how to use a cane properly, then it is very possible that you need some other walking device.

For example, a crutch or a rollator walker might be a great option for you at this moment.

About Author

Dayna C
Dayna has an incredible passion for helping others and a background as an in-home caregiver for the elderly. She left the field temporarily three years ago to stay at home with her twins, but found that she really missed working with senior citizens. She launched LoAids as a way to help not just her own loved ones and former clients, but ALL seniors live life to the fullest in their golden years.  Follow her on LINKEDIN and TWITTER. Read her LATEST POSTS. Learn more about her HERE.

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