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How To Walk With A Cane
If you have hurt your leg recently and using a cane, you must know how to walk with a cane safely and properly to maintain your balance.
Walking sticks or canes are remarkably helpful for maintaining your balance and sharing more of the bodyweight to your arms instead of putting weight on injured legs. You can practice using walking sticks or canes if you have a hurt leg or simply for hiking. Whichever type of walking stick you want to use, make certain that you modify it to your precise length for you to walk conveniently.
canes are useful assistive devices that help you when you are dealing with tons of problems like weakness, pain, or some activity like hiking. You might also need to use it when you are healing from a stroke or surgery.
Canes are also highly useful for people with walking abnormalities who might have a risk of falling, pain, corner with proper balance, weakness in the hips, feet, or knees, etc.
In this article, you will learn how to walk with a cane for different purposes. Let’s get started:
How To Walk With A Cane
Below given are several tips that will help to determine how to walk with a cane safely, conveniently, and confidently.
1. How to walk with a cane for beginners
If you are a beginner due to a recent injury, here’s what you need to do:
- Hold the cane or walking stick in one hand that is opposite the side that requires support. For example, if you have an injury on your right leg, hold the cane in your left hand.
- Position your cane slightly to your side and keep it 2 inches forward for moving.
- Move the cane forward at the same time when you move your affected or injured leg forward.
- Hold your cane steady in one place as you move forward with the unaffected leg.
You can always ask your friends or family members to support you or help to stabilize you if you are comfortable with using a cane. Make sure you are confident before your move outside with your cane.
Speak up if you find yourself in requirement of assistance now or ever while you are learning how to walk with a cane at the beginning. Also, come up with a good plan for what you will be doing if any situation occurs.
2. How to walk with a cane on the stairs
When you are using a cane to climb up the ladders or stairs, you must take extra precautions. here’s what you must do:
- For support, make sure you are holding the handrail.
- If only one leg is affected, use your unaffected leg to step up first.
- Once the unaffected leg is on the upper step, then at the same time, use your cane to lift the affected leg by keeping it on the upper stair.
- If you are walking down the stairs, put the cane on the lower step first and then step the affected leg on the lower step followed by the unharmed leg.
- Do it carefully as there is a risk of falling, make sure the cane does not slip when moving.
This was how to walk with a cane, but what if you are walking and suddenly you are required to sit somewhere in public where there is no one to help or guide you? Do not panic, follow these steps for sitting with a cane or walking stick.
If possible, look for chairs that have armrests while sitting.
- Position yourself in face of that chair such that the edge of the hat chair or seat touches your leg’s back.
- If you have a single tip cane, keep one hand on the cane and place the other one on the armrest.
- Once you have done that, smoothly lower down into the seat.
3. How To Walk With a Cane After A Knee Surgery
If you have had a recent knee injury due to which surgery was recommended, you will most probably be asked by the healthcare providers to stay active as you are reconditioning your leg. You might require a cane for walking for few days and for performing physical therapy exercises.
Exercises are necessary these days to build balance, stability, and strength. The physical therapist you are seeing will teach you various things including how to get out of the bed, complete other activities, how to use the bathroom, etc. You will also have to focus on improving your range of movements. To walk with a cane, you can follow the steps given above.
4. How To Walk With A Cane That has Wide Base
A wide cane also called quad cane has a wider base to offer balance, support, and stability. You might think they are more useful for support compared to a regular cane but they are slightly more cumbersome and you might feel more challenging to walk with quad canes. Make sure you can manage such a type of cane adeptly.
When you are walking down the stairs using a quad cane, you may want to turn it on one side so that it fits the stairs or you might fall. To sit down on a chair with a quad cane’s help, hold the cane in your hand and place the there hand on the armrest to sit down.
Also, make sure you wear supportive shoes that have rubber soles as they provide grip which prevents you from falling. Practice extra care when walking on slippery rugs, waxed floors, or wet surfaces. Also, you can buy new rubber tips for the cane if the current ones lose traction or become worn.
Another thing to note is that if you have hip pain, you will need a cane. You can perform exercises to gain back the strength of your lower body, core, and back.
5. How To Walk With A Cane For Hiking Purposes
If you are simply using a cane or walking stick to climb a mountain or hiking, here’s what you need to follow:
- First of all, decide if you wish to use one stick or two canes. Most people who go hiking prefer using two sticks also called hiking poles for easy balance. However, a single cane also is useful for a gentle terrain where you are not much concerned about balance. If you are using a single cane, you may want to switch your hands in between.
- Purchase a cane that can rise 6 to 8 inches long above the elbows. The height or length of a cane is personal preference, but many people prefer using a cane that comes up about 15 to 20 or 6 to 8 inches higher than elbows for better grip.
- Hold the elbow forming a right angle and grip the walking stick with one hand. If you wish to hold the stick a bit higher or a bit lower than the right angle, feel free to do so. Use your dominant hand to hold the cane for once, however, you can switch your hands.
- Move the stick at the same time you are moving your opposite foot. This allows your arms to swing naturally and help distribute body weight evenly. This way of climbing or hiking feels more natural than moving your foot and hand on your body’s same side.
- When you are moving straight on any rocks across the steams, plant the cane such that it touches the bottom of that steam, do not place it over a rock as it may slip and you will lose your balance. The cane used on hiking will also let you check the depth of water.
Caution And Tips For Walking With A Cane
When learning how to walk with a cane, you must practice caution. The rubber-tipped end of the cane allows your grip and traction on the surfaces. However, one must be highly cautious when using a cane in icy, wet, or slippery conditions.
Here are few safety tips you must consider when learning how to walk with a cane:
- Be attentive to pets, slippery rugs, and children when walking.
- Make sure that all the walkways are well-lit. Place in night-lights on the way from one bedroom to another bedroom or bathroom.
- Avoid putting your cane excessively far forward, as it might slip.
- Keep the path clear of anything that might block your paths, such as clutter, electrical cords, or furniture.
- Make sure the cane is perfectly stable ere you walk ahead.
- Utilize nonslip bath rugs, safety bars, and a mounted toilet seat in the bathroom. You may also utilize a shower bath seat.
- Gaze right ahead rather than looking down.
- Use any backpack, cross-body bag, or fanny pack to keep the hands available. You can likewise use an apron or appoint a small bag to the cane with a Velcro.
- Set up and adjust your living place so that all the things you’ll require access to are simple to reach.
- Try to ask someone to stay with you if you are living alone for assistance and help when you cannot move again and again for simple purposes.
Now that you know quite a lot about how to walk with a cane, you might want to choose the right cane for an accurate balance. Here’s what you can consider:
Types Of Cane
You must go for a cane that feels comfortable and fits properly. Consider your fitness, stability, and strength while choosing the right cane. Talk to your physical therapist or doctor while choosing the right cane.
Consider a seat
A seat cane comes with a small seat attached to the cane. This will allow you to take a break and stop when you need one.
Get the perfect size
Make sure that the cane you bring is of the right size for your body and if possible, choose the one that can be adjusted when needed.
Think about the grip
Choose a cane with a proper grip. Leather grips and grips developed to fit your hand is also an option. To decrease stress on the hands, go for a curved or rounded clutch handle.
Extended grips may be favored if you are dealing with arthritis or joint pains that make it more difficult to tightly clasp the grip. Possessing a proper grip will guarantee that you do not stress the joints. It may also assist in preventing joint abnormalities, numbness, and discomfort in your hand and fingers.
When to reach out to a physical therapist
If you have already tried using the cane on your own and do not feel confident or steady, make sure you visit a therapist. They will help build balance, muscle strength, and coordination required to use the cane correctly with utmost safety.
A physical therapist will also make sure that the cane fits correctly which will help reduce injuries and falls. They can provide you with some exercises and check with you your progress for better results.
The Bottom Line
Learning how to walk with a cane safely and appropriately is highly needed when using it. Use the cane that fits your size perfectly. You must create a safe surrounding in your house with no items lying in front of you while you walk. Make sure there is plenty of space for your to walk. Always request assistance and supervision when walking.
Make sure you reach out to a physical therapist as they will help to let you know how to walk with a cane properly and safely. They will also assist you in building back your strength, stability, and balance.
This was how to walk with a cane and some highly useful tips one can follow for maintaining balance and use a cane safely.