How to Use a Cane on Stairs

The reason why you use a cane right now doesn’t matter. In all cases – long-term rehabilitation or short-term recovery due to pain, intervention or surgery – you will eventually face the stairs. Climbing up and going down the stairs are procedures we usually perform in different ways when it comes to using different mobility aids.

And today we are about to teach you how to overcome the stairs with a cane…

However, before switching to our useful and easy to be understood guide regarding your stairs experience with a cane, there are a couple of things you should learn in advance. These are additional or to be more specific – preliminary – guides as to getting used to both: the cane and using the cane when stairs are in front of you.

Some basic tips to have in mind before using a cane on stairs

It’s essential to follow your therapist’s advice regarding every move or experience with your crane. The specific trauma or disability case you refer to requires a specific approach to pain relief and movements, as well. Though, there are some basic tips you can always take under considerations when it comes to your first days with a cane, as well as right before you get brave enough to pass the stairs. Here are the tips:

1. The very first thing you should do is to select the most convenient and suitable cane for you. The rest is easy and it’s all about practice.
2. That’s right – practice, practice, and practice. It refers to both – getting used to walking with a cane and getting used to the cane on stairs.
3. It’s a very good idea to get used to the cane on stairs by going up and down the bed. You will practice some of the top movements that are essential on the stairs, too.
4. Don’t rush yourself. Stairs can wait and you can always ask a friend or even a person you don’t know to help you out with the stairs. Once you get ready, make your first attempt.

Let’s list the top tips for using a cane when climbing up the stairs

The guide below will show you how to climb up the stairs easily and safely. Make sure to perform each step in the following chronology:
1. Hold the rail bravely.
2. With the opposite hand, you should carry the cane.
3. To make it easier for you, start with your health / stronger leg. Use this leg to perform the first step.
4. Now, continue by making the next step with the unhealthy leg carefully and slowly.
5. Attention: don’t rush and don’t take two stairs at once. This is not a play tag, but your first experience on the stairs with the cane.
6. Don’t panic if you should climb upstairs with no railing. There’s a way for you to pass this obstacle, as well. For this purpose, rely on the adjustable walking cane at a full value. All you have to do is to perform the previous procedure, but on a lower speed to avoid incidents.

How to go down the stairs with a cane?

Basically, the procedure is simple whether you go down or up to the stairs. However, when you have a mobility aid like a cane, as well as some pain in your leg, some panic may occur. But as we have already told you, there’s nothing to be afraid of if following our guides. Check out how to take the stairs down with a cane now:

1. First of all, ensure the surface is even and not slipping. Of course, this is a safety tip you should take under consideration when climbing the stairs up, too, but in most cases, slipping surfaces are more dangerous when going down the stairs.
2. In addition to this, make sure there’s no obstacle on your way. If you cannot remove it (or you feel yourself at a risk to do that), better try to go round the object.
3. The first time you go down the stairs might be tricky, so it’s a good idea to use someone for support nearby.
4. Now, take a deep breath and just start moving.
5. Position yourself as close as possible to the edge of the first step.
6. Now, take the handrail (if there’s no rail, ensure you stable enough and keep yourself balanced enough)
7. Lower the cane, as well as your unhealthy leg in pain and make a slow first step.
8. Then, lower the other leg and step ahead on the same step of the stairs.
9. There’s no need to hurry or take two stairs at once just like in the case of climbing up the steps.

What if I still cannot take the stairs with a cane?

There’s such a case and usually, it’s due to your psychological experience of fear. Of course, there’s no universal recipe against fear, but what is truly important is not to push your body too hard. The moment you feel ready enough is the right moment to give the stairs a try.

On the other side, it is always a better idea to use someone’s help. If you are at home, ask for a relative to be around till you get used to getting to the second floor of your house. If you are at the outdoors, look around, there’s always someone nearby to ask for help.

Contacting your therapist for some moral support and additional practice by his or her side is always a nice alternative. If you have been using the cane for more than a month and you still feel some insecurity when stairs are ahead of you, discuss your feelings with a medical specialist.


Practice the procedure with the therapist once or even twice (or as many times as you need to). The moment you feel your legs and your entire body performing the movement bravely and more confidently, you will ensure that there’s nothing to be scared of.

We remind you that this material has just an informative purpose. It is not written by a real medical specialist or a doctor so consider it as some helpful article to consider. Always perform the movements and the exercises your doctor has prescribed and advised you to.

If you need some additional information or some questions to ask regarding the stairs and climbing them with a cane, we are here by your side. Contact us at any convenient for you time and we would be happy to help you out.

Last, but not least – don’t forget that a cane is at your hand to support you. Use the support wisely, but don’t take it as granted. Your body needs to carry part of the weight or the pressure, as well!

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