How to Walk with a Cane Correctly – Ask Doctor Jo




How to Walk with a Cane Correctly: Doctor Jo shows you the correct way to walk with a cane if you have an injury. For more physical therapy videos or to Ask Doctor Jo a question, visit

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More Details About This Video:
Using a cane or crutch when you have an injury can be very confusing especially when characters on TV shows don’t even use them right! Once you get the hang of it, it becomes very easy and natural. When we walk normally, our opposite arm swings forward with our opposite leg. When using a cane, you want the same technique so you don’t risk injuring something else while you are recovering.

The most important part to start with is to make sure your cane is the right height. Most canes have a pin you can push in to change the height. On your upper leg there is a bone that sticks out called your greater trochanter. It is just below your hip. This is where you want the top of the cane. You should have a slight bend in your elbow about 20 degrees. If the cane is too high, you might irritate your shoulder, and if it is too low, you might lean over too much.

Now for the walking part. The cane should be in the opposite hand of the injured side. Yes, House, MD did it wrong! The cane should always move with the injured side. If the injured side goes forward, the cane goes forward for support. Again, this is how our bodies naturally move; so don’t think about it too much. Just move how you would normally move. The cane should be for balance and safety, and if you feel like you are pushing really hard on it, or if you can’t walk smoothly, then you probably are not ready for a cane yet.

DISCLAIMER: This video and any related comments are not medical advice. Doctor Jo is a licensed Physical Therapist and Doctor of Physical Therapy; however, she is not YOUR Physical Therapist and can’t possibly diagnose you through the Internet. So don’t use this information to avoid going to your own healthcare professional or to replace the advice they have given you. This information is only intended to show you the correct technique for physical therapy exercises and should not be used to self-diagnose or self-treat any medical condition. If you are not properly diagnosed, this information won’t help, and it could make things worse. So seriously, check with your healthcare professional before doing these techniques. If you experience any pain or difficulty while doing these exercises, stop immediately and see your healthcare professional.


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Post Author: Fredrick White

38 thoughts on “How to Walk with a Cane Correctly – Ask Doctor Jo

    AskDoctorJo

    (February 11, 2019 - 12:41 pm)

    Watch me use a "real" cane in this video, and I'll also show you How to Use a Quad Cane and explain the difference: https://youtu.be/ZWFfstzrCNs?list=PLPS8D21t0eO_aKBiXrRDEvPM3hRzXUJQd

    Judy Smith

    (February 11, 2019 - 12:41 pm)

    Wow, thank U Dr. Jo. Nobody ever told me how to measure or walk with my cane. I'm close to being 48 yrs old and have been walking with a quad cane for 10 yrs. I suffer from grand mal seizures, fibromylgia, arthritis, all the non-peachy perks that come with my ailments. I've had seizures since I've been 3yrs old, fibromyalgia in my early 20's, and arthritis about 3 or 4 yrs. God has blessed me I can't complain. There are some things I can't do? As drive anymore, work, but you know I'm still fighting the best I know how. Thank you and Goodnight.

    lovasjj

    (February 11, 2019 - 12:41 pm)

    Hi, Ive had a stoke and have left side weakness, I also fall occasionally. When I use my cane it’s on the left side because I always seem to fall to my left. Does the general rule apply .. cane opposite to “injury” ? The cane left side gives me confidence…

    Janet Green

    (February 11, 2019 - 12:41 pm)

    Hi Dr Jo. My question is what do you do when both knees have arthritis. Both my knees are quite painful and using a cane just seems to irritate the other. Any advice would be helpful.

    Beth Matthews

    (February 11, 2019 - 12:41 pm)

    Thanks! I’ve been a nurse for 15 years and didn’t know for sure. I’m currently using a cane and this video helps immensely!

    Terri Myrick

    (February 11, 2019 - 12:41 pm)

    Sadly I had to Google this today 😭 but I'm so glad I found this video ❤️

    Boss Claus

    (February 11, 2019 - 12:41 pm)

    Cool, now which side do I lean my pimp hat to? 😀

    Seriously though, thank you. I think this might help relieve the pain in my shoulder. I didn't think it mattered beyond the cane reaching the floor.

    AA7YA

    (February 11, 2019 - 12:41 pm)

    Wow! So, I've been doing it wrong all this time! Right knee problems and using cane on the right arm.

    tiffsaver

    (February 11, 2019 - 12:41 pm)

    THANK YOU so much for this tutorial!! You made the whole thing so easy to understand, even for an old fart like me. I was actually using it wrong before I watched this 🙁
    P.S. You might have a career on Broadway, too!!!

    Ami in SC

    (February 11, 2019 - 12:41 pm)

    Hi Doc…Good to see you !!

    hailbopthecomet

    (February 11, 2019 - 12:41 pm)

    Thank you very much! I’m getting a cane very soon and I’ve never really known how to use one!

    Dz GamerZone

    (February 11, 2019 - 12:41 pm)

    D Cane!!!

    Raul Moreno

    (February 11, 2019 - 12:41 pm)

    Dancing before a cane video? Savage

    Marshall Morales

    (February 11, 2019 - 12:41 pm)

    Big thanks

    HappyKarma Waves

    (February 11, 2019 - 12:41 pm)

    This is great! Now I know. Thank you!

    Bionic Joey

    (February 11, 2019 - 12:41 pm)

    Thank you. I'm just now using a cane to help me walk around work after surgery for cancer. Your advice about height of the cane and which hand to hold it and how to walk taught me what I needed to know. Now I'll practice.

    Dom Fru

    (February 11, 2019 - 12:41 pm)

    I can't use my left hand because its also broken ;(

    Robert Brunston

    (February 11, 2019 - 12:41 pm)

    Very good! Most all people I see use the cane on the wrong side! Thank you.

    Valerie Foster

    (February 11, 2019 - 12:41 pm)

    I have a question. I have weakness in my legs due to nerve damage. I don’t usually use a cane, but I’m about to have back surgery and feel that a cane will improve my safety and help prevent falls. Is there a different way to apply these principles?

    The Feeling Is Mutual

    (February 11, 2019 - 12:41 pm)

    Thank you

    mk jk

    (February 11, 2019 - 12:41 pm)

    Thank you doctor Jo! I was putting way too much weight on my stick, this made it easier to understand !!!

    Naddy 007

    (February 11, 2019 - 12:41 pm)

    Why cane is hold in apposite side ??? Please explain

    Shelby Snellen

    (February 11, 2019 - 12:41 pm)

    What if both legs are bad

    Shannyboo Shannyboo

    (February 11, 2019 - 12:41 pm)

    Hi I broke my tibula and fibula bone and I had to have surgery and a rod was inserted, the doctor said next week I can bare parcel weight will it be safe to use a cane or whats best

    Carla Davis

    (February 11, 2019 - 12:41 pm)

    you are awesome!!! and your energy was perfect 🙂

    PAPA BOB

    (February 11, 2019 - 12:41 pm)

    I use a cain but I use it cause of my back my question is I will walk with my cain and walk with it on either left or right am I doing the right thing?

    sbagram

    (February 11, 2019 - 12:41 pm)

    You saved me a lot of pain and discomfort with the video. I was using the cane all wrong. Thank you!

    jim farrell

    (February 11, 2019 - 12:41 pm)

    I was hit by a car while on my motorcycle and way quite mangled up. The Drs. gave me a cane and said once my casts were removed and I was healed up, Id require a cane for stability and balance the rest of my life. Im glad you took the time to explain how to use one properly because with my injuries, I wasn't able to be shown. That was in 2003. This feels natural and secure

    Shabana Perween

    (February 11, 2019 - 12:41 pm)

    What is the distance between canes and foot

    Ham Spam

    (February 11, 2019 - 12:41 pm)

    Watched video good

    Letisha Loves NYC

    (February 11, 2019 - 12:41 pm)

    Thank you

    Charles Rouse

    (February 11, 2019 - 12:41 pm)

    I "cane" for the advice, but stayed for the pun 0:44

    HermannTheGreat

    (February 11, 2019 - 12:41 pm)

    Hey Dr Jo, how quickly do you usually try to transition your hip/tKA patients from the walker onto a cane after surgery?

    Violence Is Fun

    (February 11, 2019 - 12:41 pm)

    I have arthritis in both knees and ankles, it's a lot worse on the left side. However, If I try to walk with the stick on my right side it hurts so much and it makes it very difficult to go through doors and to climb up stairs. Am i doing something wrong?

    David Epstein

    (February 11, 2019 - 12:41 pm)

    What is the proper way to use the cane when walking of a curb?

    usarbo

    (February 11, 2019 - 12:41 pm)

    Great video. I’m wondering if there’s a right vs wrong way to use when my low back goes out? I use walker sometimes or one to two canes for support.

    Bea Simpson

    (February 11, 2019 - 12:41 pm)

    I walk with a cane, would like to know how to go up and down steps correctly?

    glenda wood

    (February 11, 2019 - 12:41 pm)

    Thanks, helpful.

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