How To Use A Walking Stick

Smart Walking Stick

Walking sticks are a useful tool if you require additional support and stability while walking. Whether you are recovering from an injury, have a disability, or simply need assistance with balance. A walking stick can greatly improve your mobility and independence. No doubt it is a helpful mobility aid but most of us don’t know how to use a walking stick properly. 

When we use it for the first time it is difficult to maintain proper posture and balance on it. Practicing and following the tips discussed in this article will help you handle it efficiently.

Here I will help you learn how to use a walking aid with proper techniques to maintain your posture and what leg you should move first while using a cane or crutches. 

When You Should Use A Walking Stick

First of all, it is necessary to discuss in which condition you should use a walking stick. Here are a few conditions where you can choose a cane, a crutch, or a walker for moving around. 

  • You can use a walking stick if you feel pain in your knee, back, foot, or hip. You can relieve pain by using a walking stick. It will reduce pressure on these painful areas. 
  • If you are unable to maintain your body balance. Then this assistive aid will help you maintain your body balance by assisting you. 
  • In case you recently have a hip, knee, or lower body part surgery. Using a walking aid helps you move around independently without putting much pressure on surgery areas. 
  • If you are facing an injury in your lower body areas due to an accident or fall and need help walking around independently. 
  • Due to the accident, your lower body has become weak and can not keep your body balance for a long time and you are unable to walk around without the help of someone. Then you can use it to regain your independence without depending on others
  • Our body parts become weak as we get old. So, if you are old enough and feel weakness in your lower limbs and cannot walk for a few steps due to weakness. Using a walking aid can help you overcome this weakness. 

In all the above scenarios you can use a walking tool to perform your daily activities safely and regain your independence and mobility. 

Choosing the Right Walking Stick

The first and most important step to use a walking stick safely and properly is choosing the right walking aid. There are several factors to consider while selecting a stick.

Here I will discuss key points to keep in your mind while you are going to buy a stick for yourself. Why we are discussing the selection of a walking stick because it directly affects your walking ability. Using an improper walking stick can increase the chances of falls and injuries.

1. Consider Your Height: The first step in choosing a walking stick is to consider your height. A too-short or too-long walking stick can put unnecessary strain on your body. A short stick will make you hunch on it and over a continuous use you will start feeling back pain. While a long one will makr the handling difficult. So, you should choose a walking stick according to your body height. 

What Height Should a Walking Stick Be?

To find the correct height of the stick you need to follow the below method.

Wear your regular shoes when going to buy a walking stick. Keep your posture straight and upright while matching the stick height and keep your arm in a loose natural position while your wrist bone is outside. 

Ideally, the top of the walking stick should reach the crease of your wrist when your arm hangs loosely at your side. Alternatively, you can opt for an adjustable height stick if you cannot decide on the right height for the walking stick.

2. Determine the Type of Walking Stick: There are various types of walking sticks available, each with its advantages and features. The most common types include standard walking sticks, quad canes, folding walking sticks, and adjustable walking sticks. According to your needs and preferences choose the one that fits you. 

3. Test the Grip and Weight: It is essential to test the grip and weight of a walking stick before making a purchase. The handle should be comfortable to hold and provide a secure grip. Consider the material of the handle and choose one that suits your preferences. The weight of the walking stick is also important, as a heavy stick can be cumbersome to use for extended periods.

How To Walk Using A Walking Stick

Using a walking stick correctly is crucial to maximizing its benefits and preventing injury.

Here are some tips on proper technique and posture when using a walking aid for walking around:

1. Correct Way To Hold Your Walking Stick: Hold the walking stick on the side opposite to your affected or weaker leg. For example, if you have an injury or weakness in your right leg, hold the walking stick in your left hand. This technique allows the stick to provide support and stability to the weaker side of your body. However, most people mistakenly hold the stick in the same hand as their injured or weaker leg.

2. Maintain Good Posture: When using a walking stick, it is important to maintain good posture. Stand up straight, with your head up and shoulders relaxed. Avoid leaning on the walking stick excessively. Leaning can cause strain on your back and neck. Instead, use the walking stick to provide balance and support while maintaining an upright position.

3. Take Small Steps: Always take small and controlled steps when you are walking with the help of a walking stick. Move the stick forward slightly before your affected leg. So, it could make contact with the ground before your affected leg. This technique helps to distribute your weight evenly and provides stability as you move forward. 

Avoid placing the stick too far in front or to the side of your body, as it will disrupt your proper walking flow and prevent you from walking effectively. Even the chances of a fall can increase. Instead, place your cane forward at one average footstep. You can adjust the stick’s distance if you feel overstretched.

Precaution

While walking with a walking stick, it is best to avoid uneven or slippery surfaces whenever possible. These surfaces can increase the risk of falls and accidents. If you must navigate such surfaces, take extra caution and consider using a walking stick with a rubber tip for better traction.

How to Get Up and Sit Down On a Chair Using A Walking Aid

Here you can learn how you get up and sit down on a chair without putting much pressure and stress on your affected leg;

Get Up from a Chair

Keep your stick, cane, or crutches near the arm of the chair. Always place it on the side of the holding hand. 

  • Lean forward and place your hands on the chair handles.
  • Stand up while using your arm force. In this way, you will put minimum stress on your affected leg. 
  • Use your one arm to pick up your stick while standing.
  • Stand upright while holding your walking aid. 
  • Pause for a moment before taking a step forward.

Sit Down On A Chair

  • Come close to the chair and turn around so that your back is facing the chair. Ensure both of your legs are touching the chair.
  • Bend forward and lower yourself down while holding onto the arms of the chair with both hands.
  • Slowly lower your body into the chair while maintaining your grip on the chair’s arms.

How to Walk Up and Down Stairs with a Walking Stick

Here you will learn how to walk up and down stairs with your walking aid;

Ascending the Stairs

To safely ascend stairs using a walking stick, follow these guidelines:

  • Always hold onto the handrail for stability and support.
  • Start by placing your stronger leg onto the first step.
  • Move your weaker leg onto the same step as your stronger leg. Move your walking stick 
  • If there’s no handrail, place your walking stick on the next step as you move your weaker leg forward.
  • Throughout the ascent, ensure your movements are steady and controlled.
  • Ascend stairs slowly and deliberately to avoid slips or falls.

This approach ensures you ascend stairs safely and confidently with the assistance of a walking stick. 

Descending the Stairs

To safely descend stairs using a walking stick, follow these steps:

  • Just like an ascending stair, you should hold onto the handrail for support while descending the stairs. 
  • Begin by moving your weaker leg down to the lower step.
  • Follow with a stronger leg to the same step as your weaker leg. Bring your both feet on the same step before moving to the next one.
  • If no handrail is available, place your walking stick on the lower step as you move your stronger leg down.

Precautions

Here are a few necessary precautions you need to follow while going up and down stairs:

  • Place your stick away from the edge of the steps to avoid slipping and accidents.
  • When ascending or descending stairs, ensure your whole foot is placed securely on each step to prevent slips.
  • Take your time and move slowly when navigating stairs to maintain balance and stability.
  • Use the handrail if available for added support and balance.
  • Avoid carrying heavy loads while using stairs with a walking stick to maintain proper balance.

Following these precautions can help you safely navigate stairs with a walking stick, reducing the risk of accidents and injuries.