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Using a Cane

A cane helps you get around on your own. Many different canes are available. The most common type has a single tip. But if you have balance problems, your healthcare provider may recommend that you use a quad (four-point) cane. Always use your cane on the stronger (uninjured or unaffected) side, unless told otherwise. Use the cane on the side opposite your weaker leg.

Walking

Side view of a man using a cane. The arrow shows where he should put his other foot.

1.

  • Put all your weight on your stronger leg.

  • Find your balance.

  • Move the cane and your weaker leg forward.

Side view of man using a cane. The arrows show where he should put his injured foot and cane to step past his other foot.

2.

  • Support your weight on both the cane and the affected leg.

  • Then step through with your stronger leg.

  • Put your weight on the weaker leg and start the next step.

Side view of man using a quad cane. The arrow shows where he should put his foot.

  • When using a quad cane, place the cane so that all of the tips touch the ground.

 

Side view of a man using a cane on stairs. The arrows show where he should put his cane and injured foot to move up the stairs.

Up stairs and curbs

  • If there is a railing, hold on to it with your free hand.

  • Step up with your stronger leg first.

  • Then move the cane and weaker leg together as a unit.

Side view of a man using a cane on stairs. The arrow shows where he should put his foot to move down the stairs.

Down stairs and curbs

  • To walk down, step down with your weaker leg and the cane first.

  • Then follow with your stronger leg.

 

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