How to Safely Walk with a Cane

Canes are useful devices for aiding movement if one of your legs is weaker than the other and needs extra support. Here is how to safely walk with a cane.

Finding the Right Fit

It’s difficult to walk with a cane that’s not the right size for you. Luckily, finding the right cane length is relatively simple. First, make sure you wear whichever shoes you use the most, as this will give you the most accurate measurement. Next, stand up straight, relax your arms at your sides, and have another person measure from your wrist to the floor. The length they find is directly equivalent to your ideal cane length. If you don’t have someone who can measure for you, you can divide your height in half. This will give you a safe estimate of your ideal cane length; the measurement will be within an inch of your precise cane length.

Walking Normally

Since your cane is made to support a weaker leg, you should always hold it in the opposite hand. On flat ground, move the cane forward as you step forward with the opposite leg. You can place as much weight on the cane as you need, but don’t overextend or underextend your cane-holding arm. The cane should move about the same distance as your opposite leg. It’s also important to remember that you should always start walking with the cane and weaker leg first rather than the unassisted leg.

Using Stairs

Going up and down stairs requires different movements. If you’re going up, you should hold onto the rail using one arm and move your stronger leg up first. Then, move your weaker leg up to the same step as the stronger one. With a rail present, you don’t have to use the cane in your step. But if a railing is absent, simultaneously put the cane and your weaker leg on the next step.

When you’re descending stairs, lower your weaker leg first while holding onto the rail. You then move your other leg—the stronger one—down to the same step as the first. When there is no rail to use, put your cane down on the next step at the same time as your stronger leg.


If you’re in the market for a new cane walking stick, the House of Canes can supply you with a high-quality cane in your preferred style. Contact us today.