After a stroke, you may need to use a walking aid such as a cane or walker to help you get around. Get help from a health care professional to make sure the size of the cane or walker is right for you and to learn how to use it safely.

Is the size right?

For a cane, you know you have the right size when you are standing up straight with your arms by your sides and the top of the cane is at the level of your wrist.

A walker is the right size when you are standing up straight with your arms by your sides and the top of the walker is at the level of your wrist. Be sure all 4 legs of the walker are the same length.

Using a cane

Hold the cane in the hand of your unaffected side. Move the cane and your affected leg forward at the same time, so that the cane helps take the weight of your weak leg. Then step with your unaffected leg. To go up stairs, use the handrail and step up with your unaffected leg first and follow with the cane and your affected foot together. To go down stairs, use the handrail and step down with your affected foot and cane together first and follow with your unaffected foot.

Using a walker

For either a pickup or rolling walker, lead first with the walker, then follow with your affected foot and finally with your unaffected foot. In this way, you can use the walker to help take your weight when you are standing on your affected leg. Be sure that all 4 legs of the walker are in contact with the floor at the same time. Remember to stand up straight and look ahead. Do not use the walker to stand up or sit down, as you may fall. Instead, use the arms or seat of a chair. Do not use stairs with a walker.

Caution

Watch out for uneven surfaces. Remove rugs and floor mats so you don't trip. Remember, when coming in from outside, that the rubber bottom on your cane can be slippery when it's wet.

Written and reviewed by the MediResource Clinical Team