I have read that when you use a cane, you should have it on your good leg side but move it forward with your bad leg side. So if my left leg is in pain, I would have the cane on my right but move it forward at the same time as my left painful leg correct?. What if I feel that my left leg is weak and it may give out and I am afraid of falling? Can I then use the cane on the left side with that leg instead?

– Lynn



Walking with Cane GraphicThank you for your question. Unfortunately, it is difficult to give you an exact recommendation at this time without completing an evaluation. In general, when using a cane or other single arm assistive device, it is held opposite the impaired side. For example, you have an injury on your left leg, so you would typically utilize the cane in your right hand and it should strike the ground at the same time as your left leg. See picture on the right.

There are instances when a cane can be used on the same side as the impaired leg to accommodate for weakness or balance deficits of the “well leg” or poor coordination/weakness of the arm. With that being said, it is difficult to determine if a cane is an appropriate assistive device for you or what side the cane should be held on without knowing the extent of your injury and current condition. A physical therapist is well trained to assess gait patterns, determine the appropriate assistive device and teach you the appropriate way to use that device. Your physical therapist will also develop an appropriate plan of care which may include stretching, strengthening, balance training etc. to address your current impairments potentially limiting the need for an assistive device in the future.

**This reply is for informational purposes only. It’s not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, physical therapist, or other qualified health provider with a medical condition.