How to use a walking stick
Did you know there is a wrong and right way to use a walking stick? Using a walking stick incorrectly could increase the risk of falling or 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.
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.
Using your stick correctly
- 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 the weight off the painful limb.
Keep your back straight as far as possible, it is OK to place weight on the stick but 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.
Practice makes perfect.