How to Use a Cane
Holding a cane
Hold the cane in the hand opposite your weak or injured leg. So if your right leg is weak, hold the cane in your left hand.
Walking with a cane
- Set the cane about 4 inches to the side of your strong leg when you are standing still.
- To take a step, put most of your weight on your strong leg. Move the cane several inches forward while moving your weak leg forward.
- Put weight on your cane to limit the weight on your weak leg, and move your strong leg forward. Stand up straight as you do this. Do not let your body lean.
- Move your cane about 4 inches in front of you, and start your next step.
- Take small steps.
- Use ramps and elevators when you can.
Sitting with a cane
- To sit, back up to the chair. Touch the back of your legs to the chair.
- Set the cane aside where you can reach it and it won't fall over.
- Support most of your weight on your strong leg, and reach back for the arms of the chair.
- Slowly and carefully lower yourself into the chair.
Getting up from a chair with a cane
- To get up from a chair, first make sure your cane is close by so you can grab it when you stand up.
- Grab the arms of the chair, and move your strong leg slightly forward.
- Scoot forward in the chair until your rear end is near the front of the seat.
- Lean forward so your head is above your strong foot.
- With your weight mostly on your strong leg, hold both arms of the chair and push yourself up out of the chair.
- Grab your cane and set it about 4 inches to the side of your strong leg.
Going up stairs with a cane
- To go up stairs, step up with your strong leg.
- Bring the cane and your weak leg to the step.
- Use a handrail if there is one.
Going down stairs with a cane
- To go down stairs, put your cane and weak leg on the lower step.
- Bring your strong leg to the lower step. This saying may help you remember: "Up with the good, down with the bad."
- Try this first with another person nearby to steady you if needed.
Current as of:
July 7, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine