Side to Hold a Cane
Which hand should you use to hold a cane (e.g., single point cane, Hurry cane, etc.) with?
You should hold the cane with your strong side. For example, if you are stronger on your left side for your leg and weaker with your right leg, you should hold the can in your left hand. This is counter-intuitive as you would naturally want to hold the cane on your weaker side, but you would get the most benefit from holding it on your strong side.
as you walk, the cane will move at the same time as your weaker leg.
How to Walk with a Cane
There is a specific sequence to how you should walk with a cane, similar to how your walk has a pattern that is in sync with your arms as they swing side to side. As you practice this and get used to it, it will become more natural and you will not have to think about it as you go about your day-to-day activities.
- Bring the cane forward in front of you with your stronger side.
- Take a step with your weaker leg.
- Take a step with your stronger leg.
- Repeat the sequence with step 1.
Cane–weaker leg–stronger leg
Cane–weaker leg–stronger leg
Cane–weaker leg–stronger leg…
- If there are handrails or sturdy supports in the environment, you can also use them to provide additional support.
- Walking with a cane and doing functional things can be difficult. For example, if you are performing tasks that require two hands, you will naturally need to set the cane down. It may be better to do one thing at a time: performing a stationary task vs. walking.
- Some tasks require using two hands while walking. For example, if you are carrying a cup of water and walking with a cane, a cane will be in one hand and a cup of water in the other. The same recommended sequence still applies: hold the cane with the stronger hand and the cup with the weaker hand. This way, your walking pattern stays the same and you are still able to perform functional tasks.
- Some canes on the market are able to stand on their own and not fall over. These canes have a small base on the bottom. The benefits of these canes is that they do not fall over, requiring you to bend down to pick it up. This is more convenient than setting your cane down flat or leaning it against something and risk having it fall over. The downside to these types of canes is that they may be more heavy and cumbersome to use.
Why You Should Not Use A Hurry Cane
You may have seen advertisements or people use the hurry cane. This cane has a small base compared to a regular single-point cane. While canes with small bases can be beneficial, the downside with this specific product is functionality. This cane is also meant to be portable and folds into a small footprint to ‘be out in seconds when you need it’. The major downside of this design is its sturdiness.
Many patients report that when you bear weight on the cane once it is deployed, it ‘falls apart’ because it is meant to be more portable. This can actually be a dangerous thing as you are walking and depending on this device to bear your weight – causing you to fall. The physical therapists I work with often do NOT recommend this device to patients.
I strongly advise you to purchase another type of cane, preferably one that does not disassemble and the entire length of the cane is one piece.