Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Risk Factors Symptoms Evaluation Treatment specialist Home Care pain in adults pain in children using a cane using a walker using crutches warning signs Underlying Cause Anatomy

Painful Joints Using a Cane

Some people with difficulty walking due to joint pains may benefit from using a cane.

Proper Cane Length
The handle of your cane should reach to the crease in your wrist when you stand upright and the end of the cane is resting on the floor.

Using a Cane
Hold the cane in the hand on the opposite side of the leg that needs support. With the cane, you can support some of your weight with your opposite arm. For example, if your left leg needs support, you should use the cane with your right arm. When you step with your left leg, the cane and your left leg should be on the ground at the same time, and you should support some of your weight with the right arm.

Follow these steps:

  • Position your cane one small stride ahead and step forward onto the bad leg. Place weight on your bad leg and the arm that is supported by the cane. Your elbow should be slightly bent as you support your weight.
  • Step forward with the good leg.

Climbing Stairs with a Cane
Climb one stair at a time and rest on one step before moving to the next step.

Follow these steps:
  • Grasp the handrail with the hand that is on the same side as the bad leg.
  • Place your weight on the bad leg and on the arm that is supported by the cane.
  • Step up to the next step with your good leg.
  • Transfer your weight to the good leg.
  • Move the cane and the bad leg to the step where you placed the good leg.
  • Support and stabilize yourself with your legs, the cane, and the handrail before moving to the next step.

Going down Stairs with a Cane
Go down one stair at a time and rest on one step before moving to the next step.

Follow these steps:
  • Grasp the handrail with the hand that is on the same side as the bad leg.
  • Place your weight on the good leg.
  • Place your bad leg and the cane on the step below.
  • Transfer your weight to the bad leg and the arm supported by the cane.
  • Move the stable leg to the step where you placed the cane and the bad leg.
  • Support and stabilize yourself with your legs, the cane, and the handrail before moving to the next step.

Continue to Painful Joints Using a Walker

Last Updated: Sep 10, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Painful Joints References
  1. Creamer P. Current perspectives on the clinical presentation of joint pain in human OA. Novartis Found Symp. 2004;260:64-74. [15283444]
  2. Donald IP, Foy C. A longitudinal study of joint pain in older people. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2004 Oct;43(10):1256-60. [15252209]
  3. Dreyfuss P, Dreyer SJ, Cole A, Mayo K. Sacroiliac joint pain. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2004 Jul-Aug;12(4):255-65. [15473677]
  4. Palmer T, Toombs JD. Managing joint pain in primary care. J Am Board Fam Pract. 2004 Nov-Dec;17 Suppl:S32-42. [15575028]
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