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How to Accurately Measure for and Use a Cane

How to Accurately Measure for and Use a Cane

Canes and walking sticks can be incredibly classy. Whether you're using a blackthorn walking stick or a horse head cane, you can be sure your mobility device is more than a device, but also a fashion statement.

However, it's essential to consider the functionality of your cane before you look for elegant walking canes to suit your lively or swanky personality. After all, wooden canes are meant to improve mobility.

Measure yourself for a cane before your purchase

Mobility devices are used by approximately 40% of the American population aged 85 and over. They're also used for those who are younger who need the additional support to improve mobility and reduce the risk of falls.

For proper mobility, the cane needs to be able to fit your body. Many canes can be adjusted to fit your height, but if you decide to purchase a wooden cane it's important to know your measurements.

Wear your regular walking shoes when you're measured and then stand straight with your arms relaxed at your sides. A second person, possibly your tailor or a relative, should measure the exact distance between the floor and the joint of your wrist. This will ensure that your cane provides the best possible mobility.

Know how to properly use a walking cane

When you were a child, you may have used the cane of one of your grandparents to waddle around the living room for fun. But odds are you weren't using the cane correctly back then since it wasn't built for your short stature.

To properly use a cane to improve mobility, follow these steps:

  1. Place your cane or walking stick on the side of your body that works the best. This will help the side of your body that needs assistance moving or has trouble supporting your weight.
  2. Move your weaker leg forward at the same time you move the cane forward while supporting your weight on the cane as necessary. However, the cane is meant to assist your balance, not to take your full weight.
  3. When walking on level surfaces, always place your weight on your weaker leg first with the assistance of the cane.
  4. Your cane should move at the exact speed and distance as the supported foot or leg. It should never be too far ahead of you or too far behind.

This is the typical way to walk with a cane. However, talk to your doctor or physical therapist for more information on the best technique for your own mobility.