How to Use a Cane

by A.

Question:
I don't understand the logic of using the cane opposite my weak leg? If my knee is going to collapse, I'd rather have support on that side.

Can you post some pictures of the different things you're talking about?

Answer:
Hi A.,
I totally agree with you. I didn't really understand it either, but Cir's PT was trying really hard to get him to use it on his left side instead of the right. If you learned to use it on the weaker side and that feels more comfortable to you, I say stay with it. Just take your time and go slowly. Make sure that you have solid footing before you take each step.

And it also sounds more like your problem is not as much balance as it is support or reinforcement. It always seemed to me that the weaker leg should be in the middle, but I'm not the expert. But here is a paragraph from Fashionable Canes - they don't claim to be experts either, but they sell canes.

I guess what's happening is if you use the cane on the opposite side of your weak leg, you are creating balance by having the cane on the other side and not on the weak side, if that makes sense.

"Using your cane properly will increase stability and balance while walking or standing. You should use your cane on the opposite side of your injury or weakness, regardless of which hand is your dominant one. Put all of your weight on your unaffected leg, then step with your affected leg and the cane at the same time a comfortable distance forward. With your weight supported on both your cane and your affected leg, step through with your unaffected leg."
(Fashionable Canes)

Yes, I will try and get Cir to help me take a few pictures to show what I'm talking about. And hopefully other visitors will comment on this question.

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Apr 11, 2009
What's Most Comfortable
by: Akrista

Cir and I were talking about this and he did say that another one of his therapists told him that he should do what's most comfortable for him. So, I guess it's more or less up to each person. If you don't feel safe doing it the "right" way, then do it the way you've always been doing it - just take your time.

Of course if you began using it the way the "experts" say is the right way, then don't change. They know the way the human body works best and that's the way they say you should do it.

With that said, Cir and I also thought of a few other things that may be the reason it's more comfortable for him to use the cane on his right instead of his left.

His left leg is almost an inch shorter than his right. And he also has foot-drop on his right side. Maybe these two things combined with leg weakness on the right side, make it more comfortable to use the cane on the right instead of the left.

I'm not for sure about any of this, just trying to figure it out all out. But he feels safe, and that's what matters most.

Sep 14, 2012
Biomechanics behind using a cane
by: PT Student

In terms of biomechanics, using a cane on the opposite side of your injury reduces the force put on your hip abductor muscles. Some rehabilitation specialists also recommend carrying a weight (most likely a briefcase) on the same side of the injured hip.

For a little better understanding you can visit this site http://moon.ouhsc.edu/dthompso/namics/hipbmk.htm

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