After writing about various types of canes, I thought I should share some tips on learning to walk with a cane, which can be a bit tricky at first.
If possible have a physical therapist or caregiver teach you how to walk with your cane. With my first cane I attempted to walk with it on my weak side, as this seemed to make sense. However, my physical therapist taught me the correct way to use my cane on my good side. At first I was tempted to look at my feet to see where they’re going. Since with CMT we lose proprioception, or our ability to keep track of and control the different parts of the body, I cannot tell where my feet are. After a few strolls around the room, I felt more confident and soon realized looking straight ahead is preferable to running into things.
Some tips to walking with your new cane:
- Hold the cane in the hand opposite the side that needs support
- Place about 4 inches to the side of the stronger leg
- Using the cane for support, distribute weight evenly on both legs
- Shift weight to the stronger leg
- Move the cane about 4 inches ahead, bringing your weaker leg forward with the cane
- Using the cane to keep your weight off your weaker side, move your stronger leg ahead.
The following steps may also help you learn to get in and out of a chair and to walk using a cane.
Using your cane to get into a chair:
- Stand with the back of your legs against the chair seat.
- Rest the cane against the chair.
- Reach back with both hands to grip the chair arms.
- Put your weaker leg slightly off the floor.
- Put all your weight on your stronger leg.
- Slowly sit down and slide backwards into the chair.
Using your cane to get out of a chair:
- Hold your cane with your stronger hand.
- Grasp the arms of the chair.
- Put your stronger foot a little forward.
- Stand with your cane about 4 inches (10 cm) to the side of your stronger foot.
- Wait a few seconds to get used to standing before you start walking.
- Lean a little forward and push on the arms of the chair to raise yourself.
My husband is thrilled because, I “can get around Disney pretty good with my cane.” Though, I didn’t have the heart to tell him how exhausted I was after a day of racing around Disney World. Nevertheless, he’s right, in that I can walk a lot faster with the cane. I can even keep up with him.