I've read that people with hip and knee osteoarthritis should think about using a cane to take pressure off the leg and to help the pain go away. What should I know about purchasing and using a cane?

If your osteoarthritis is starting to cause more pain and stiffness in your hips and knees, a cane might give you some relief. A cane helps take some of the strain of walking and standing off the weight-bearing joints. Many people only need to use their canes during flare-ups.

When you are looking for a cane, choose one with a handle that feels comfortable in your hand. To size a cane, hold it by the handle, keeping your hand by your upper thigh with your elbow bent slightly. The tip of the cane should touch the ground about six inches in front and to the side of your foot.

When you use the cane, carry it on the opposite side of your sore joint. For example, if your right knee hurts, hold the cane in your left hand. When you take a step with your affected leg, move the cane forward. This allows you to put more weight on the cane and less on your sore knee or hip.