If it is time for you to choose a walking stick (cane) then you may be overwhelmed by the choices and features available. You have to make sure the walking stick you choose improves your balance and properly aids your walking. To help you choose the correct stick here is an outline of key features to look for.
Key Features For Buying Walking Sticks
Height and Weight Limit
Both height and weight recommendations must be considered when choosing walking sticks. Having the right height is very important for your stability and for comfort.
To help get the correct length to stand upright in a relaxed stance, hang your arm loosely at your side then slightly bend your elbow, about a twenty-degree bend, measure from the wrist to the ground and this should give you the correct height.
Walking sticks may be the appropriate height, but not strong enough to bear the weight of the user. Check the weight recommendation or maximum user weight of the stick. Also, consider the length of time you intend to use the stick.
For long-term use, look for a strong and durable stick. If you require a portable stick or one for intermittent use, consider a folding stick. These can be folded to a compact size and are ideal for transportation, you can store them in the glove box, your handbag, etc.
Comfort means your walking stick is right for your needs and that it has a comfortable grip. The most common models are the crook handle, swan neck, and t-handle.
The crook handle has the classic candy cane shape and can be made of wood or aluminum. This type of stick is best suited to the slight of temporary injured, or those needing a little extra support on a mild or temporary basis.
The t-handle has a ‘T’ at the top of the walking sticks, making it easier to grip and therefore providing additional support. The t-handle is sometimes ergonomically shaped to your hand. People often find that the t-handle gives a steadier more comfortable walk.
Stability is paramount, especially if you are a older person or if you need extra support. As a solution some walking sticks have four legs with a wide base, known as a quad stick.
Quad sticks provide you with greater stability and support. Another benefit of a quad stick is that it can stand independently without you needing to hold on to it. Quad sticks usually come in large or small, depending on the size of the rectangle base. The larger the base area the more stable the stick.
Alternatively, standard walking sticks can be used with an attachable flexi-jointed foot or a tri-based contoured foot, both of these will give you greater stability.
It is important that all sticks have non-slip high-quality rubber tips and that they are maintained. Sticks do wear out from excessive use and will need replacing at some stage.
There are many fashionable options for walking sticks available. You can get all varieties of colors and patterns to complement your wardrobe and your own style. Don’t be shy when choosing the style of your stick, not only will it set you apart from the crowd but it will also make it easier for you to find!
So when the time comes to trial a walking stick makes sure you look for comfort, a good grip, stability, height adjustment, and a style that suits you. We recommend you consult a physiotherapist or occupational therapist if you intend to use your stick frequently.