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Archive for the ‘Cane Use’ Category

Proper Cane Use

February 8, 2017

How to safely use a cane on level surfaces:
  1. The cane should be held on your “good”  side to support the “bad” side.
  2. Step first with the “bad” leg, bringing the cane forward at the same time.
  3. Lean on the cane as needed.

Cane Use

June 15, 2012

Canes should be used to help with balance, increase a person’s base of support, and lessen the load placed on the knees, legs, and feet. However if a cane is going to help achieve these goals it must be used properly.  To walk with a cane on level surfaces a person should:

1.  Hold the cane in the hand on your “good” side, so it give stability to the “bad” side.

2.  Move the cane forward at the same time as you move the side that needs help.

3.  Always have the “good”side take the first step.

Canes can help a person with osteoarthritis walk a little farther.

How to Use a Cane

February 24, 2012

If you have arthritis in both knees, hold the cane in whichever hand feels most natural for you.  If your osteoarthritis effects one knee worse than the other, hold the cane on the side of the least amount of knee pain.  Move the cane with every step.  Your doctor or physical therapist should teach you how to do this.  The cane stays in place as the unaffected leg swings forward.  Move the cane when you move the leg that hurts most.


A cane needs to be strong enough to support your weight, especially if you are experiencing knee pain – so choose wisely.  A small person can get away with an aluminum or wooden cane.  A large person may have no choice but to use a steel or titanium.  The tip is also important.  Make sure the rubber tip is not worn to ensure proper balance.

Using a cane can make life easier for people with arthritis.  However when a cane is too short it will throw the user off balance and cause them to lean to one side.  If a cane is too long it will be awkward to walk with it and the cane will be harder to lift.  Generally speaking a cane should come up to the bend in your wrist.


Choose a grip that feels right in your hand.  The type and size of the grip depends on you.  If you experience hand pain, wrist pain,  or have trouble when grasping things with your hands and fingers then try using a larger grip.  Canes are a great help for knee osteoarthritis.

The Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases published in November of 2011 that cane use can increase function and decrease knee pain in patients with knee osteoarthritis.

Patients with knee osteoarthritis were divided into two groups: a cane group and a non-cane group.  They were studied over a two-month period.  Data like energy expenditure, pain levels, and general health was gathered during six-minute walking tests.

The study concluded that patients will experience a decrease in pain and an increase in function by using a cane.  Also that prescriptions for canes need to take into consideration that patients will expend substantially more energy during their first month of cane use.  And then as the patient gets used to using a cane that energy level will taper off to inconsequential measures.


A.Jones, et al. Impact of Cane Use on Pain, Function, GEneral Health and Energy Expenditure During Gait in Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis: a Randomized Controlled Trial.   Annals of Rheumatic Diseases 2012;71:172-179 doi:10.1136/ard.2010.140178