How to Use a Walking Cane on Stairs

There's no question that canes for men and women can be lifesavers. But people dealing with the pain of aching joints or the aftermath of surgery shouldn't need to worry about precisely how to use a cane. While walking from room to room with a cane is one thing, climbing and going down the stairs with a cane is an entirely different situation. Traversing the stairs with a cane requires a little bit of finesse to master.

Here's what you need to do to learn the fine art of stair climbing with a walking cane. Or, read our full guide on how to use a cane.

The Basics First

Before anything else, recognize that there's one actual rule of walking with a cane: identify your good leg. The leg that has more power, the one that allows you to move around with a cane at all, is the leader in the sense that it makes every move a little simpler.

Going Up

You're standing there with your custom walking cane, staring dubiously at the staircase that looms before you. How will you do it? The goal is to take baby steps and make that first move when you're ready. You must step first with the good leg. Don't turn sideways or attempt going up at an angle, or you risk compromising your ability to get upstairs safely. Be sure to face the staircase head-on to safely begin your ascent.

Going Down

Just when you've mastered the ability to successfully get upstairs with that designer cane firmly in your grasp, you realize that, at some point, you'll need to head back downstairs. The good news is that it's not quite as daunting as it may seem at first. It just takes a little bit of moxie to put that first foot forward. To do so, start with your weaker leg. Yes, it's true-when you head downstairs, you want to break from tradition and lead with the leg that doesn't perform as well. Again, face the staircase head-on instead of angling your body.

With a Handrail

If you're climbing a staircase that is equipped with a handrail, you can breathe a little sigh of relief. Having that additional form of sturdy and reliable support can make your journey up or down the stairs a whole lot easier. To take advantage of it, you'll need to hold your cane on the side of your body that is opposite of the handrail. This allows you to hold on to both mechanisms as you travel.

As you move up the stairs, place the foot of your stronger leg on the first step. Then place your cane on the step. Next comes the weaker leg, which you will gently bring up to the same step. To go down the stairs, you will place your cane on the step first. Then you will use your weaker leg to bring your foot to the same step. Finish by bringing your stronger leg and foot to the step. As you make these moves, be sure to hold on to the handrail firmly. There's no need to grip it in a death vise, through a relaxed hold on both the rail and your cane will assure your success in reaching your destination.

Without a Handrail

So what do you do if there's no handrail? You will need to rely fully on your adjustable walking cane. Make sure that it is comfortably in your grasp. Take a deep breath. Then simply begin the same process as you would on a staircase with a handrail. Take your time, and allow yourself the opportunity to practice. You might even want to practice on a staircase that has a handrail, and simply pretend that the extra support isn't there. That will help you build up both your courage to tackle a tricky maneuver and the confidence to handle any climbing situation with greater ease.

What Canes are Best for Climbing Stairs?

You may be wondering, "does it matter what type of cane you have?" Would a formal cane for men perform better than a cute walking cane for women? In short, the answer is no. It doesn't matter how reserved or dressy your cane may be-the only factor that ultimately matters is its functionality. Make sure your favorite designer walking cane for men or women is ready to go when you are, and you're sure to be safe whether you're headed up or down the stairs.

Visit Fashionable Canes today to find the perfect cane to keep you climbing in style!