The proper height of your walking cane is essential for comfort and support. Incorrect length can cause pain and discomfort.
Canes are usually height-adjustable, but if not, you can estimate the cane height by dividing your height by two, so 76-inch tall should order a 38-inch cane.
But let’s take a closer look at the ins and outs of proper cane height.
Problems With an Incorrectly Sized Cane
A cane that has not been adjusted to your body may cause incidents:
- If your cane is too long, you may find yourself placing it too far ahead to compensate for the extra length. It can cause unnecessary pain to your shoulder, and reaching out can cause the tip to slip.
- If your cane is too short, it makes you hunch over or lean to one side, leading to loss of balance and falls. Short cane may result in back pains or even a lasting injury.
How to Properly Size a Cane
You will need the help of someone else to measure this:
- Stand straight and keep your arms by your side.
- Take the hand opposite to your weakest leg.
- Let your arm hang down loosely at your side.
- Measure the length from the inside of the wrist to the ground.
This is how long your cane is going to need to be, from handle to tip.
It is essential to wear shoes that you would regularly wear during the measurements.
When you actually use it, your elbow should then bend approximately 15-20 degrees.
Estimate Length of a Cane From Your Height
You can estimate the length by taking half of your height in inches.
- For example, if you are 6’0″, i.e., 72 inches, you would need a cane that is 36 inches.
This method gives a length that is quite close to the proper length.
User’s Height and Approximate Cane Size
|User Height||Approx. Cane Size|
|5’– 5’3”||30”- 31.5”|
|5’3– 5’6”||31.5”- 33”|
|5’6– 5’9||33”- 34.5”|
|5’9”– 6’2”||34.5”- 37”|
|6’2 – 6’5”||37” – 38.5”|
Benefits of Adjustable Cane
The benefit of ordering an adjustable design is that you don’t have to worry about finding the right height before you buy it. This is great if you are buying online or if the device is designed as a gift.
Depending on the model, the maximum and minimum length will vary.
- The range is typically somewhere around 30″ to 38″ (76 – 97 centimeters), suitable for users of 4’11″ – 6’5″ (150 – 195 centimeters). Some models start at 28″.
- You can typically adjust the height with one-inch increments.
It’s essential to check the adjustable range before ordering if you are on the shorter or longer side.
How to Adjust the Height of an Adjustable Aluminum Walking Cane?
There are typically several adjusting positions with one-inch increments in aluminum canes:
- Most adjustable canes have a locking nut. First, loosen the locking nut.
- Press in the security pin.
- Move the inner tube up or down until the pin engages with the next hole.
- The pin should click to the hole. If you cannot see the pin completely, the position is not secure.
- Lastly, don’t forget to tighten the locking nut.
Shorten a Wooden Cane
You can make your wooden cane shorter by cutting off the right amount at the bottom.
Take off the rubber tip of the cane first. You may need to work with hot water and liquid soap or WD-40 if the rubber tip is too tight.
Use a miter saw, or cut-off saw to cut the cane. You should probably make the first cut a little longer than the estimated length so that you can check the measurement before making the final cut.
It would be best if you were cautious not to cut off too much. You can’t make a wooden cane longer. Checking twice and cutting once is a good rule of thumb.
Solutions If You Are Tall or Short
With most canes, the lengths tend to be tailored to individuals between the 4’11″ and 6’5″ range. Now, this is quite a wide range, and in most instances, these can cater to most users.
Of course, every person is unique. While these heights might be considered average, many people fall below and above this range.
Now there are two different answers to these problems.
- The first is to get a custom-made cane. This way, you will ensure that you get a comfortable fit regardless of how tall or short you are.
- Fortunately, certain retailers have readymade models with specific sizes, specifically for those who are very petite. If you choose to take the second path, it is still essential to take your measurements.
Your assistive device must be of a length that is conducive to your height. This will help prevent numerous problems.
The Bottom Line
Choosing the best cane for walking and determining the proper height for that can be tricky due to individual preferences, so use these estimations as a guide only.
A cane’s height is usually determined by the distance from the wrist to the ground. However, if you have weakness or limited flexibility in your shoulders, elbows, or hands, the shorter device might be enough.
If you have a condition that prevents you from standing straight, a shorter cane may be needed than your height would typically direct. Ask for help, and check the distance between the ground and your wrist as you walk with shoes on.