Determining and Ordering Proper Cane Length
"It is always best to consult your doctor for both type and length of cane she/he feels best for you."- the Concierge
- Standing erect with both arms relaxed at your sides and wearing the shoes that you normally wear
- MEASURE from the floor at the outer side of the heel to your mid wrist (just before wrist bone, or second skin crease of inner wrist).
- AT PROPER CANE LENGTH: Shoulders should be even with each other. If you have an existing cane, look in the mirror with cane in place. If the shoulder of arm holding cane is higher than the other, your existing cane is too long. If this shoulder falls lower than the other, your existing cane is too short.
- Elbow flexion of about 25 degree angle, when in use.
Ideally, if requiring a walking cane as a mobility aid, consult a Physical Therapist to determine the proper cane length. Otherwise, please carefully follow the proceeding guidelines to determine the proper cane length…It is strongly recommended that you have someone assist you when measuring for the proper cane length of your walking cane for the first time.
More Helpful Information
- Choose the correct type of cane for you. There are five main types, and they are listed here in the order you should use them depending on your weight or pain.
- pick up walker
- Make sure the cane is the correct height for you. Generally, the height of the cane should come to your wrist when you are standing still and straight.
- Use your cane in the hand that is opposite of the side of your pain. For example, if you have a pain in your right leg, use the cane in your left hand.
- Make sure the grips and stoppers on the bottom of the cane are not worn or broken. Get someone to help you replace them if they are.
- Consider the functionality of the cane, not only its appearance.
- Select from the various styles of canes by considering the stability each offers.
- Choose a cane that is light.
- To select the proper length for a cane, stand up straight with your shoes on and arms at your sides. The top of the cane should reach the crease on the under side of your wrist.
- If the cane is a proper fit, your elbow will be flexed 15-20 degrees when you hold the cane while standing.
- Choose an adjustable cane if you plan to wear different styles of shoes.
- Make sure you have a good grip of the cane and that the fingers and thumb do not overlap.
- Shift as much weight to the cane as necessary.
- Make sure that the tip of the cane is in good condition and that it is replaceable.
- When ascending stairs, step first with your unaffected leg, placing your foot on the next stair up from where you are, then bring the cane and the affected leg up by straightening that unaffected leg
- When descending stairs, step first with the affected leg and cane at the same time and lower yourself slowly by bending your unaffected leg's knee until the stick and your affected legs foot are in firm contact with the next stair down, then bring your unaffected leg down to the same stair
Some "Relative" Information
- Cane length is "usually about" one half the cane user's height, in inches, wearing shoes.
- Example: Height (with shoes) = six feet = 72 inches
- Half of 72 inches = 36" cane length source
- A crook shaped handle is the worst choice of cane for people with a lot of pain.
- A t-handle, ergonomic, fischer cane is oftentimes the best/optimal choice for maximum support.
- Discuss your options with a doctor, so you know which type of cane will support you the best.
- A trolley cart is an effective way to carry items around the house, and give you support.
- With hip injuries, you should hold the cane on the opposite side as your injury.
- Always take your cane with you.
- Keep your free hand on the railing when going up or down stairs.