If you ever watched House MD, you may have noticed how awkwardly Dr. House walked with his cane. That's because it was the wrong height for him, and he was holding it in the wrong hand.
Canes must fit your body height and proportions. See last month's blog for how to make sure your cane is the correct height.
- Put the cane in the opposite hand to the injured leg. If you have a problem with the right leg, put the cane in your left hand. This is important because it allows normal arm swing when we walk, and normal biomechanics. Thus, we reduce the risk of injuring other parts of our body. Remember how twisted House's body looked when he walked? He was at risk of back and/or shoulder pain.
- Put the cane forward in line with your right leg. Weight bear through the cane at the same time as you take weight through the leg. Try and keep good posture throughout, and you will minimize the risk of other problems.
How do I walk with 2 canes?
There are 2 ways of doing this, depending on your balance and how bad your injury is.
- Put both canes forward at the same time as weight bearing through the injured leg. This works well if your injury is severe or your balance is not so good.
- Start as for one single point cane. Left hand with right leg, then the second cane in the right hand with left leg. This takes a bit of practice, but if you can master it, it is close to normal walking and will help your body minimize the risk of any injuries from using the canes. This method is easier if your injury is less severe and your balance is ok.
You'll be able to check out my video on this - coming soon!
Next time, I'll talk about how to go up and down stairs with a cane.
R. Sian Owen PT, Registered Physiotherapist