Using a Walking Stick Correctly

this image shows a collection of stunning walking sticks

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.

Good Posture

    • 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.


Award-winning blogger and care columnist for Devon Life magazine, Caron also campaigns for recognition of the needs elderly people and their carers. Designer and creator of the award-winning Dementia Assistance Cards which are free to all, and helping thousands of people globally Caron is passionate and committed to making a difference


  1. Thank you for sharing your knowledge about how to properly use a walking stick. It could raise awareness and add additional knowledge for the right posture on using it.

  2. This is one of the few areas where people go wrong. Most people are ignorant about this. When using a cane the posture and other factors as mentioned has to be maintained to avoid injuries in future.

    1. Are you familiar with Flexyfoot walking canes and ergonomic ferrules ?

  3. These are very useful points, especially for those of us who do not actually need to use a walking stick and will not have considered them. It enables us to pass on these tips to other people who do need them.

    Thank you, Caron

  4. Your paragraph Walking Properly with a Stick surely has an error.

    “As you step forward, the stick and the opposite foot should hit the floor at the same time. Then swing the injured – don’t you mean uninjured – leg through… ”

    I’d change it before somebody falls over and sues.


    1. Hello Rob,

      Many thanks for contacting me at Caron Cares and for pointing out a mistake in one of my articles. This was a genuine error and I am so grateful for you noticing it. I would have felt awful if someone had fallen as a result of my mistake,when the whole purpose of the site is to help the elderly.
      Very Best wishes

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