What is the proper cane height for walking?
Yes, the length matters. Especially for us seniors.
Yes. The length of your cane will make a real difference in comfort and stability for you.
Didn’t know that. Did you?
Neither did I.
As a senior, a walking cane may be something you now need either temporarily, or, from now on.
If you just had an accident and need a bit of support while recuperating, or, you’re just older now (no crime) and you need a new “companion”, a proper cane height will be important.
Proper cane height for walking gives appropriate balance and stability. Didn’t know that. Did you? I didn’t.
Proper balance and stability gives us greater confidence and safety. This is so very important as we seniors age. This improves our mobility, happiness, and quality of motion.
Yes, ALL these things happen when we choose the proper cane height for walking.
Who knew all this mattered so much?
Yes, you’re going to see a LOT of articles on “proper cane height for walking”. The same with videos, etc….
BUT, we are all unique. We all have a unique set of physical abilities and issues.
So, we need to find the proper cane height for walks: “That meet our own person needs.”
We certainly didn’t know that when we went to get out Mom her first cane.
Canes come in a LOT of different sizes. So which one is best? And, how do we determine what will be best for us as seniors?
We’re going to tell you exactly how,
But FIRST, after you determine the right length, make sure you get a good looking cane.
It's important. It matters. We'll talk more about this a little later.
How do we find the proper cane height for walking? The length that will be the most comfortable, AND, give us seniors the best balance and support?
Well, pretty much everyone who knows anything about walking canes is going to tell you the same thing:
Let your arm hang at your side. Have someone measure from the floor to the creases in your wrist (while you are wearing walking shoes), and, that’s the right length for you.
Remember: When trying to get the proper cane height for walking, you need to to factor in the height of your shoes (wear them when you are measuring) because you likely won't be using the cane without them. Right?
Here’s a VIDEO that shows you how to measure this:
HOWEVER: That may not be the best length for you.
That method of determining proper came length for walking is a great way to start. But, if you’re not really comfortable with your cane after that, a little more adjustment may be necessary.
Here’s what you do:
That measurement advice is a great place to START.
And, it will usually be very close to right. For many people, seniors included, it’s the only measurement they will need.
BUT, and this is a BIG BUT, we are all built a little differently. And, our parts all move a little uniquely. Right?
Let me ask you a question: Have you ever had a friend, someone you really love and trust, recommend something to you as “just the best there is”?
AND, it was NOT, not even close, to something you even liked a little? Or, that felt at all good?
That’s because we all are constructed a little differently. We all have slightly different tastes and desires.
As seniors, our walking canes, which may become our new constant companions, are the same thing. Our canes should fit us “like a glove”. Like a great shoe. Or, a custom made shirt or dress.
They should be highly functional, AND, Good Looking!
So, how do we find that exact right proper cane height for walking for us?
Walking with a cane that's either too long or short
can lead to
more aches and pains than you already have.
For us seniors, this is especially true in our elbow, shoulder and neck. So, that is
why it is worth taking the little extra time it takes to find the exact
proper cane height for walking. For You.
Now, remember I just told you NOT to use a hideous grey aluminum walking cane?
Buy one. $9. Or, borrow one from a friend. It must be an adjustable one.
So you can play with, and, experiment with different lengths easily.
If a friend or family member temporarily needed a cane to help recover from an accident or injury borrow the one they are no longer using. If not, you’ll be smart to get one.
Remember: This ugly one must be an adjustable one, which it probably will be in this case because these are the ones typically used by assistance providers and available in the local Walgreens.
If you wind up having to spend good money on one, just consider it a “spare”, and, the tool needed for measuring. Not the cane you will eventually use and adore.
Men will relate to this whole “tool” idea much more easily than women because: We men LOVE new tools. Of any kind. We LOVE them. Cherish them. Adore them. So, a new tool is always a JOY and worth getting!
And, this ugly hideous “tool” is just what we need to find the exact right cane height that we will want.
Get the UGLY hideous adjustable (it must be adjustable or you’ve wasted some money) walking cane.
Set the height just as the video above showed.
Use this cane for two or three days. I know, it’s against every aesthetic impulse in our bodies. I’m sorry. Just use it now (then hide it in your closet behind the things you never wear).
If it is always comfortable, feels good, and helps you balance easily, you have the proper cane height for walking. Then you are ready to shop for a really nice one that length (and HIDE this monstrosity as we described).
On The Other Hand: If this height is not really comfortable, or feels very clumsy, adjust the height. Just a little. And, use that height for another day or so.
Make it a bit longer first. Maybe just an inch. Or, even a half inch.
Did that feel better?
If not, go the other direction. An inch. A half inch. An inch and a half. Two inches. More than 2 inches in either direction you won’t need.
Shorter is usually not the direction. Too short stresses out the back muscles from leaning over. We see so many seniors walking all hunched over this way with their canes. And, it does not feel good.
So, if the original adjustment is not really comfortable, a little higher is usually the way to go. But, try both directions to be sure.
If nothing feels quite right, keep adjusting until you find the most comfortable length there is. It may not be perfect. BUT, the very most comfortable length is what we are looking for.
When you find that: That will be the proper cane height for walking for YOU!
Measure the length.
If you are between inches, choose the Higher inch.
If your son (or daughter) is handy, they can get a small saw and cut the cane to the exact length you liked best.
* Note: If your cane is too short, you might lean to one side — which can throw you off balance.
You can always shorten a long cane that is too long later on. A short one can never be made longer.
As you just learned: Although measuring the distance from the floor to the crease in your wrist is considered the “gold standard” in determining walking cane length, You may prefer something a little longer or shorter.
This happens due to different body factors. And, physical changes happen commonly as we get more and more into our senior years.
For example, flexibility and strength are things that can determine the proper cane height for walking in seniors.
Flexibility and Strength changes in our senior years (as we ALL unhappily know).
This can happen in our:
This may require a cane to be a bit shorter to be comfortable.
Most people will prefer a longer to a shorter cane. BUT, if your joints are very stiff and don’t bend easily, a little longer cane may feel better.
It’s all up to what feels best to you.
You need to match the cane's length to your own personal needs and comfort. And, that takes a bit of trial and error.
If you don’t get it right immediately, don’t worry. Just be patient and keep trying. It won’t take too long and it is very much worth the little extra effort and time it takes to find the right length of You.
Remember: It’s better to start too long than too short. If over time, your cane feels too tall, you can always have it cut down. If it feels too short, you’re out of luck and you’ll need to buy another longer one. So, better to start a little too long than too short.
More to consider?
But, this stuff is easy. And, worth doing.
Walking canes have different kinds of grips.
The foam handle is almost always an accessory that you buy and attach to the handle of your cane.
Try holding and gripping everything you find and see what appeals most to you. There is no right or wrong handle. Only the most comfortable for You.
The straight handle was the favorite in our "Seniors Cane Survey". 168 (84%) out of 201 seniors surveyed liked the straight handle best, and, thought it was the most handsome.
Oh yes. The cane’s tip is VERY important. You need to be aware of the cane tip and check it regularly. It’s very important. Especially for us seniors.
The tip is the part that touches the ground. The part most people rarely look at. And, the cane tip is very important for stability, balance, and holding the ground firmly. These are the three main reasons we seniors get a walking cane.
Normally a nice soft fat standard rubber tip will be most secure on most surfaces. Always make sure it is soft and in good shape. If it is not, if it gets worn or dry, or cracked, replace it immediately. They only cost about two dollars.
EXCEPTION: When the ground is frozen and icy, a rubber tip is more of a detriment than a help.
With frozen ground, a spiked tip cuts into the ice and gives the best grip.
If the ground if frozen, and all you have is the rubber tip, carry the cane and hold on to someone’s arm as you walk.
You can get a spike tip on line that will attach to your cane for about ten dollars. It is a must have for those who plan on using their walking cane outside in the winter.
And, there are tips that have a spike and a rubber cover that slips over it so that you are prepared for the ice and for can quickly switch over to the rubber when you enter a building from a winter day.
There are also rubber tips with retractable spikes. These are the handiest and easiest to use.
If you are finding it too difficult to get a comfortable cane height, or, if measuring is not helping, you may want to get professional assistance.
Have a physical therapist help you. It will be worth the cost of the visit.
Or, you can go to a medical supply store and ask a sales associate to help you out. That will be free. They can also help you with the handle shape that will be best for your grip. And, help you determine which side to use the cane on for best results.
Normally the hand you hold the cane with is on the opposite side of the injury. But, sometimes it's on the same side. Your physiotherapist can determine the correct side for your situation
BUT, in the store: Don’t buy another ugly grey or black aluminum one from them. It will always make you feel old and broken and crummy.
Once you’ve figured out the proper height, and type of handle, go back home, go on line (to the computer, where you will get the best deal and biggest selection), and find a Beauty that makes you smile. If you’re looking at it, and, you’re not smiling, keep looking until you find “the one”! The one that you will be proud to walk with and happy to hold.
Yes, it really does make a happiness difference.
Don’t worry about wasting the time of the sales associate that helped you, either. They make plenty of money from everything else they sell. It’s part of their job. And, if they were nice to you, you can give them any future business that they can help you with in the future.
There is an important difference in canes here.
For seniors of average size, who only using a walking cane for balance and a bit of support, a standard type cane is all that you’ll need. That’s the kind we have been talking about here.
If, however, you need a cane to bear more weight and hold you up more securely, a “quad cane” with four tips gives more stability.
There are also special stronger Bariatric canes that are designed for obese people. If that’s you, you’ll need to specify this type of stronger cane when shopping. These canes hold and support much more weight.
Before we go shopping, there is one more bit of important information you need to know: Don’t get a “Walking Stick”. You want a “Walking Cane”.
This sounds a bit confusing, I know. Right? Especially since people from England often call a cane a walking stick. Confusing for sure.
THERE IS A DIFFERENCE.
A Walking Stick is usually very light weight. It DOES NOT support any real amount of weight. Walking Sticks are for balance only. Hikers often use these type of things. They usually look like ski poles. BUT, they can look like canes.
A walking stick will crumble if you depend on it for support and down you’ll go.
When walking sticks look like a cane, you can usually tell the difference because they are either quite thin or very light weight. If in doubt, ask the sales person, or, inquire with an email if shopping on line.
A Walking Cane is stronger. Solid. Usually made of wood or heavy duty aluminum or steel tubing.
A walking cane can support some weight. Up to about 25% of average body weight. For us seniors, they are good for balance AND some minor support. BUT, remember, they are not made or intended to support full body weight as a crutch is.
Finally! The fun part!
You now have measured, tested the height, and found the proper cane height for walking. You know the handle that feels the best. It’s time to go shopping!
We have a whole other article for seniors on picking out a Great Looking Walking Cane. One that's Good Looking as well as strong and supportive.
It is called: “Walking Canes for Seniors”
Click on that link and take a look at all the cool and good looking canes you can have. Most for under $30.
You can also do a search for:
You’ll be surprised how many beautiful walking canes there are!
And, if you have a few extra dollars, you may start collecting them. Having 2 or three different canes is fun! We have a close friend who has 32 Absolutely Gorgeous walking canes.
I, of course, went looking for the most beautiful cane right off the bat. I just like things to look nice. OK. I like things to be Beautiful!
So, if I was going to purchase a cane for my senior Mom, darn it, I wanted her to look good.
Get one that looks great and makes you feel like royalty. At least, a cane that makes you enjoy using it. OK?
It’s VERY important for us seniors to continue feeling good about ourselves. If we get an ugly generic grey aluminum cane, we’re not trying to look good. It’s simply functional. And, it makes us feel "old" and crummy each time we have to use it.
Is ALL your clothing functional? Your scarves? Your table napkins? Your curtains?, etc…. I’ll bet not. I’ll bet you have some nice stuff at home.
Because it’s fun! We enjoy these things. They make us smile and feel good. We enjoy using them.
Our walking cane should be the same. You’re going to be spending a lot of time with it and going lots of places with it.
And, you deserve to look good. As well as having some good walking support. Don’t you agree?
Look good! Be happy and proud! You are special! You're a senior citizen!
Many of us seniors are on tight budgets. But, don't think you can't afford a very good looking walking cane.
A LOT of the very best looking canes are not expensive at all. Under $30. The cheapest generic grey hideous looking ones are about $8.95.
Do yourself a favor. A BIG favor. Spend the extra $21 on a good looking one.
Because you’re going to feel good about yourself every time you use it. You’ll never be ashamed to hold it, or go walking, when you have a good looking cane. You’ll enjoy walking more. Really. It’s true. And, you'll get some nice compliments from your friends!
Am I trying to sell you something?
This is the weloveourgranny.com website. We LOVE our Grannies. That includes YOU. And, we want you to be happy and enjoy life as much as possible.
Feeling good about yourself, and, being proud of yourself is important. This makes us feel good. So, always take care of your most wonderful self. And: Look Good!
A good looking walking cane, with the proper cane height for walking, will help you do that. AND, you’ll never be embarrassed by it.
This baby is going to be your constant companion for a long time. Your constant companion.
Do you want to feel old, and miserable, and crappy every time you look at that stick? Or worse yet, that grey aluminum piece of hideous equipment? Sad that you're no longer young....
OR, do you want to look at a Beautiful, or even just simple and Lovely, piece of work. A lovely accessory. Like a lovely scarf. A beautiful brooch. A fine hat. A nice belt, good looking shoes….. Something you look forward to taking for a stroll each day?
Don’t degrade yourself with a hideous piece of ugly equipment that looks like it came from an automobile wreck.
Get a nice cane! A Handsome one. It’s not a big expense. It will last a very long time. You'll enjoy yourself, and feel good about yourself every time you use it.
You’ve reached a very special place in life. Not everyone gets there. You’re a Senior Citizen! That deserves respect and honor. And, you deserve to live Joyfully every minute that you can. Treat yourself well whenever you can. Get a nice walking cane! Please. You’ll never regret it.
Did you realize how important proper cane height for walking is for us seniors?
We had no idea either. Until we got one.
Then we had to get another one because we didn’t get it right the first time.
I can tell you for sure, when you get the proper cane height for walking, you will really enjoy walking again.
When you have the proper cane height for walking, you won’t cause discomfort elsewhere in your body when you are walking with it. With the wrong height, you may feel worse than ever before and blame it on “old age”.
Getting the proper cane height for walking is just like getting the right size shoes for walking. And, just as important!
If your shoes are too big or too small, it’s misery. Am I right? When the shoes fit just right, walking becomes a Joy!
And, Remember: Treat yourself right. After you figure out the correct cane height and handle for yourself, spend the few extra dollars to get a walking cane you enjoy holding and looking at.
When you get the proper cane height for walking, a comfortable handle, and a good looking cane that you enjoy looking at, you’ll enjoy walking more. Really.
And, with the proper cane height for walking, you’ll walk more easily, comfortably, proudly, and happily.
Enjoy! ~ William, Fiona, and Charlotte