How to Use a Cane

User Services

Technical Assistance - How to Use a Cane


Proper Positioning The elbow should bend a bit (15 to 20 degrees) when the cane is being used. The cane should be held in the hand opposite the side that needs support. Walking

When walking, the cane and the weak leg swing and strike the ground at the same time. To start, position the cane about one small stride ahead and step off on the injured (or weak) leg. Finish the step with the normal leg.


To climb stairs, grasp the handrail (if possible) and step up on the good leg first, with the cane in the hand opposite the injured leg. Then step up on the injured leg. To come down stairs, put the cane on the step first, then the weak leg, and finally the good leg carrying the body weight.

 Optional Accessories for the Cane

In very cold climates, ice tips are desirable. These are attached to aluminum canes to dig into the ice for increased stability. Some canes have wrist straps.


General Guidelines for Use of Canes in the Home

Remove scatter rugs, electrical cords, spills, and anything else that may obstruct the user’s ability to walk through the home, or that may cause the user to trip or fall. In the bathroom, use nonslip bath mats (coated with rubber on the bottom.) Encourage the use of a backpack, fanny pack or apron to carry small items while using cane.


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This work is supported under a five-year cooperative agreement # H235V060016 awarded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, and is administered by the Pass It On Center of the Georgia Department of Labor – Tools for Life.  However, the contents of this publication do not necessarily represent the policy or opinions of the Department of Education, or the Georgia Department of Labor, and you should not assume endorsements of this document by the Federal government or the Georgia Department of Labor.



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Other Information

Title: How to Use a Cane
Module: User Services
Author: Trish Redmon
Audience: Consumer
Sub Title:
Procedure: Technical Assistance, User Assistance
Organization Source: Pass It On Center
Last Reviewed: 10-25-2009 7:27 PM