Using a walking stick correctly.
There is a wrong and right way to use a walking stick. Using a walking stick incorrectly can put you at a higher risk of a fall and can even cause injury to another part of your body.
Setting the Right Height
Making sure your stick is the right height will reduce pressure on your shoulders, arms and wrists. Stand with your arms relaxed by your side. Notice where the bone on the outside of your wrist is. The top of the handle of the stick should be a the same height as this bone.
Use Your Stick on the Opposite Side
There is a tendency to use the stick on the same side of your injury or pain. However, this means you are leaning heavily on the stick and hence on the painful side. Using the stick on the opposite side of your injury allows you to shift the weight of your body more to the non-injured side.
Walking Properly With a Stick
- As you step forward, the stick and the opposite foot should hit the floor at the same time. Then swing the uninjured leg through. This takes some practice, since it is like having three legs. However, walking this way will produce a smooth and even gait which will reduce stress on the rest of your body.
When using stairs with a stick, remember this saying: “Up with the good and down with the bad.” When you step up, use the non-affected leg first and then follow with the stick and affected leg. The stick will help you push up. Going down, use the stick and affected leg first. The stick will help to take weight off the painful limb.
As much as possible, keep your back straight. While it is OK to place weight on the stick, try to not lean too far to one side or too forward. When walking, do not swing the stick out in front of you any farther than your leg would normally reach so you do not overextend your arm.
I always recommend Flexyfoot walking stick ferrules and canes as they are designed to be safer and more comfortable to use. Click on the image below to learn more.