How to Choose the Right Cane & Use It Correctly
The right cane can relieve pressure on sore knees, hips, ankles and feet, as well as improve balance.
By Heather Larson
Walking canes come in even more varieties than candy canes. Materials, colors and handle styles are a matter of preference. Cane type and size, however, there are options that affect function and safety.
The right cane used correctly improves balance and reduces risk of falling by widening the base of support, as well as decreasing weight on lower-body joints, says Lori Ramage, a physical therapist and the Joint Club Coordinator at Banner Boswell Medical Center in Sun City, Ariz.
Choosing Type and Fit
The most common styles of canes are single point and quad or three-point canes. Ramage says most people with arthritis need only single-point canes, and those with a neurological impairment are best suited to quad canes, because they put more weight on them.
When being fitted, wear your walking shoes and stand tall with your arms at your sides. The top or curve of the cane should hit at the crease in your wrist. “If the cane is too high, you won’t get the support you need,” says Ramage. “When the cane is too low, you slump.”