When to Use a Cane or Walker – Tips from Therapy

Staying mobile and independent is key to living a fun and active life. But as you get older or recover from injuries, it may be necessary to use a walking aid to help you stay steady and get around safely.


Cane: A cane is great if you need a little extra support and balance. It’s perfect if you have mild pain in one leg or hip, feel unsteady while walking, or need extra support on one side of your body after a minor injury.

  • The handle should line up with your wrist when you’re standing.
  • Hold the cane on your stronger side to help you balance better.
  • Move the cane forward at the same time as your weaker leg.

Walker: A walker gives more stability and support than a cane and is perfect if you have major balance issues, feel unsteady often or have frequent falls, or need support while recovering from surgery or an injury that affects both legs.

  • The handles should line up with your wrist when you stand straight.
  • Push the walker slightly ahead of you, then step forward with your weaker leg first, and bring your stronger leg in line.
  • Stand straight and avoid leaning too far forward or hunching over the walker.


How Therapy Can Help

Physical and occupational therapy can make a big difference if you’re dealing with mobility issues. Therapists work with you to improve your strength and balance, helping you to move more easily. They can also teach you how to use canes, walkers, and other aids properly, ensuring you get the most benefit from them.

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