5 Top Tips on How to Choose the Best Walking Cane

stylish walking canes

The first solution that people with mobility issues seek are usually walking canes on account of their easy availability and low cost, but knowing the 5 top tips for on how to chose the best walking cane can prevent you from choosing the wrong cane and ending up with more problems than you had to begin with.

walking canes

The first solution that people with mobility issues seek are usually walking canes on account of their easy availability and low cost, but knowing the 5 top tips for best cane choice can prevent you from choosing the wrong cane and ending up with more problems than you had to begin with.

5 Top Tips on How to Chose the Best Walking Cane

#1. Walking Cane or Rollator Walker?

The two are not mutually exclusive. Many people use both a cane and a walker for different activities and indoor versus outdoor use. If you’re not sure what’s right for you, consider this:

Walking Canes:

  • Lightweight and easy to transport
  • Inexpensive and easily available
  • Easier to use on uneven terrain, narrow hallways, and stairs
  • Leave one hand free to carry something else
  • Quad canes offer considerable stability and support

Rollator Walkers:

  • Much greater support and stability compared to a walking cane
  • Recommended during surgical recovery for added safety
  • Accessories such as trays and baskets can be added to carry food or small items
  • Easier to use

#2. Types of Walking Canes

The many materials, styles, and designs of walking sticks can be confusing for the buyer. It helps to know the main types of walking canes and the different benefits they offer.

Design:

  • Standard: This single-tip walking cane is suitable for people who only need help with balance. This type oftheraputic cane cane is more agile and can be easily used in narrow spaces and stairways. It is smaller when folded down and convenient to carry.
  • Quad-Cane: This offset walking cane with four tips is appropriate if you need to bear weight on your mobility aid, such as following injury or surgery on a lower extremity. A quad cane offers more stability, but is also heavier than a single-tip cane (consider a carbon fiber cane if weight is an issue). Quad canes are more expensive than standard canes, so those on a tight budget may need to factor this in as well.
  • Seat Cane: These walking canes are popular for a reason – they’re practical and compact. Waiting in long lines is never going to be a problem again! Tripod seats feature two additional legs on the walking cane that unfold to support a platform for the user to sit on with the cane handle positioned between the legs to prevent tipping over backward. Sling seat canes are a tad bit more ladylike with a two-pronged base and two additional legs that can be released to reveal a fabric sling seat. If you want a comfortable ladylike seat, go for a sling seat cane. If you want a lightweight cane and don’t care if you can’t cross your legs, choose a tripod cane.

Material

  • Wooden: These are the most common type of walking canes and they come in a range of options.
  • Metal: Stronger than their wooden counterparts, these walking canes can be either fixed or adjustable height.
  • Carbon Fiber: This extremely strong material is ultra-lightweight and virtually unbreakable and suitable for rigorous use.

fashionable canes

Style:

  • Fixed: Most wooden walking canes are fixed height and care must be taken when purchasing this type of mobility aid because its height cannot be altered.
  • Folding: These lightweight walking canes have a metal shaft divided into sections that can be folded up for easy transportation and storage. Strong elastic connects the sections and maintains stability when the cane is in use.
  • Telescoping: These walking canes are fabricated from steel, carbon fiber, or aluminum, and offer height adjustment. They collapse into a compact state for storage and transport.

#3 Features of Walking Canes

The last thing you need is to end up with an aching wrist because you chose a walking cane with the wrong type of handle, and a cane that is the wrong height can leave you with more problems than you bargained for, which is why it’s important to carefully evaluate the features of a walking cane before you buy it.

  • Height: This is by far the most important feature to consider because a walking cane that is the wrong height can be a fall hazard or can result in aches and pains due to hunching over or can throw you off balance. Adjustable canes are best if you want to be able to fine tune your walking stick after you’ve bought it. To determine the size of your cane, have a friend or family member carefully measure the distance from your wrist to the ground while you stand up straight in your usual footwear.
  • Grip: This is where you’ll hold the cane, often for prolonged periods of time, so it’s important that the grip on your walking cane is comfortable. Consider the shape, material, and design of the cane’s grip. A smooth round grip may look the most elegant, but a contoured grip may be easier on your wrist. Foam grips are the softest, special gel grips are available, and arthritis sufferers may find larger grips more comfortable.
  • Tip: This is where your walking cane is subject to the maximum wear and tear, and durability is essential. Reinforced plastic tips are likely to last the longest. Rubber tips are more stable and offer a better grip on all types of terrain.

wooden canes #4. Cane Handle

Choosing the correct handle will prevent unnecessary stress on your joints or the development of numbness and tingling in the wrist with prolonged use. Here are the different types of walking cane handles and their features:

  • Derby: This thick handle has a gentle wave that conforms to the natural shape of the hand, making it especially suitable for people with arthritis.
  • Fritz: Similar to the Derby, but thinner, this hooked handle allows the user to hang the walking cane off a chair, for example.
  • Offset: This type of handle distributes the user’s weight along the length of the cane and is recommended by the medical community to reduce strain on the wrist.
  • Ergonomic: This type of handle is specially designed to reduce pain and stress even with prolonged use.
  • Contoured: Shaped to be used in either the right or left hand, this type of handle is extremely comfortable but cannot be switched between hands.
  • Round/Crook: Traditional and elegant, but not the most comfortable of handles.
  • Palm Grip: The wide grip of this handle is very comfortable because the whole hand can rest on it.
  • Knob/Ball: Graceful and stylish, these walking cane handles offer little support and poor grip and are mostly ornamental.

#5. Best Cane Choice: Accessories

Using a mobility device doesn’t have to mean you can’t let your sense of style shine through. There is an array of styles, designs, patterns and colors to choose from. In addition to being a fun accessory, you can make your life a lot easier with some of these add-ons:

  • Cane Clutch Bag: Attaches to your walking cane with Velcro straps and provides easy access to your cell phone, keys, medications, and other small items. Compartments, zippers, and a wrist strap add functionality.
  • Tripod or Quad Cane Tip: A three- or four-pronged tip with non-slip pads that allow your cane to stand upright on its own.
  • Glow-in-the-Dark Cane Tip: Ideal for night time and poor light conditions.
  • Flexible Tip: Flexes and swivels for added stability.
  • Tip Stabilizer: Featuring sand and water vents, this cane tip makes it easier to walk on sand or gravel.
  • Ice Grip: Improves safety on snow, ice, grass, and sand.
  • Wrist Strap: Attaches easily to your walking cane for added security.
  • Mobility Light: Attaches to cane tubing and turns on automatically by sensing motion and low light.
  • Folding Storage Bag: Protects your cane during storage. Carry strap makes your walking cane easy to transport.
  • Removable Decorative Covers: Available in fashionable colors and patterns to showcase your personality.
  • Fleece Cane Grip: For those cold days when you want something warm to grip; machine washable.

5 Top Tips on How to Choose the Best Walking Cane

Today more than ever there are so many great colors, designs, shapes and styles of walking canes and sticks, from the functional look through to all sorts of cool and funky sticks. We hope our 5 top tips on how to chose the best walking cane will have you moving forward in your life with increased safety, confidence and some style with your new mobility aid.

Additional References:

http://www.indymobility.co.uk/walking-aids/walking-sticks/walking-stick-types.htm

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/healthy-aging/multimedia/canes/sls-20077060

When is it Time for a Walking Cane?

walker with seat

Whether you’ve just taken a spill trying to get out of bed or you suffered the embarrassment of falling while walking around outside or have a life long disability, or just want to get fit, you are likely to be asking the question when is it time for a walking cane or rollator walker. Looking and deciding the next step can be confronting, whether to accept the challenge of extra mobility support or deciding from the array of options of walking sticks, canes and walkers.

Even though you may not have suffered serious injuries during this event or any previous falls, the fact remains that you could at any time.

walking aid

The cold, hard truth is that as your body ages, or due to medical condition or illness, you can start to suffer from changes in balance and stability when walking. So this is often a good time to be thinking about if now is the time for a walking cane.

Deciding the Next Step

Instead of worrying whether others will start looking at you differently, or your own aversion to “looking old”, taking action now could prolong your mobility and independence, especially since it will help prevent additional falls in the future.

Before deciding the next step, look below and you’ll find out what you need to know about these mobility aids so you can make the choice that will help you keep moving for years.

The Real Importance of Mobility Aids

canes and sticksBefore you learn more about walking sticks, canes and walkers, it is important that you take a moment to understand just how important they can be for your health and well being. Everyone knows the adage “use it or lose it” and that definitely applies when growing older.

1. Regain Your Confidence

If you’ve fallen, you may be tempted to avoid walking too much so that it doesn’t happen again. However, doing so will only make your situation worse. Since you aren’t using the muscles required for walking, such as those in your legs, back and core, they will continue growing weaker. That means that when you do walk, it will be more difficult and your chances of falling are higher.

2. Health Benefits of Walking An Aid

It is time for a walking cane and deciding the next step of choosing to empower yourself with the appropriate walking and mobility aids can be daunting. However the health benefit will be keeping those muscles strong and will even help them grow stronger if you begin walking more.

3. Increased Social Activity

Additionally, those stronger muscles will make you more sure of yourself and your abilities to get out and enjoy everything life has to offer.

Feel Good And Take a Step Toward a Mobility Aid

Keeping that in mind, understanding why you need to decide to next step and choose an option that will keep you going is easy. Now you just need to choose the right one for your needs 🙂

Walking Sticks

While some may consider walking sticks and canes as the same thing, they really aren’t. A walking stick, which is walking sticksessentially a longer pole or stick, isn’t designed to handle your full weight while walking. Instead, you use it at your side to help you maintain your balance – especially when dealing with uneven ground or steps.

A walking stick is longer than a cane, and this can be especially helpful for those who need an extra bit of leverage when dealing with small hills or going from one surface to another that may throw off your balance. Often used for trekking or hiking

Walking sticks are often used for trekking and hiking with new sticks being light weight and adjustable. Walking sticks are becoming popular with nordic fitness walking exercise where cardiovascular levels are raised through using upper body and arms a bit like in cross country skiing.

Generally, if you don’t have an issue with an overly weak leg, or you’ve noticed that your balance just seems to be a bit off or you are asking yourself, when do you know it is time for a walking cane, a walking stick may be the right solution to help you keep moving.

Canes

walking caneMost people are familiar with canes. They are around waist height and have a curved or L-shaped handle. A cane is made from a variety of materials, including wood, metal and other strong materials.

It is used on the stronger side to provide support for your weaker or injured leg. When walking with it, you bring the cane forward at the same time you take a step with the weak leg, providing added balance and support.

For most people, the cane is one of the first walking aids that they use. Whether due to an injury, balance issues or a weak joint, a cane provides the support you need so you can avoid falling.

If you are someone who has already fallen, but you don’t want to use a cane due to it making you look old, there is only one response – you’ll look much younger walking with a cane than you will if one of your falls results in you needing a walker or wheelchair.

Need More Support With Walkers and Rollators

A walker offers the most support of all walking aids. It has four feet, or in some cases two feet and two wheels, and is used with both hands.

Reasons for Choosing A Walker

walking frameIn many cases, a community nurse, physiotherapist or your doctor will tell you that you should be using a walker, especially if you’ve just had hip surgery or are recovering from an injury that makes it difficult for one leg to support your weight.

However, there are many other reasons for choosing a walker.

Perhaps you have dizzy spells or shortness of breath.

Maybe you had a stroke or suffer from a condition like multiple sclerosis, arthritis or diabetic neuropathy.

Even slower reflexes can have a major impact on your ability to walk without falling. All of these situations may make a walker the right choice for you.

walker with seat and brakesSome people don’t want to use a walker due to its bulkiness or the fact that they have to use two hands. While these are valid points, walkers have come a long way from those stiff, metal options.

There are some that have a seat built in for dealing with longer walks, and most fold easily so they fit in the car.

There are also smaller, lightweight choices for using indoors, and heavy-duty walkers that can handle rough terrain.

No matter where you walk, there is a walker that will fit your needs and keep you up and moving around.

When is it Time for a Walking Cane?

Now that you understand the differences between walking sticks, canes and walkers, deciding when is it time for a walking cane or walker will be clearer. Then it is about deciding which one will work best for your needs.

If you are still unsure, you will be in a better position to ask questions, speak with your doctor, physiotherapist or health professional to see if he or she has recommendations on which one will provide the support and stability you need. It is also important that you follow any doctor’s orders if you’ve been injured so that you don’t make your situation any worse.

Aging is a natural process does cause some disability, and for some my include further weakness from a medical condition of short duration or life long.  This is a great time for a walking cane or stick especially when still active but just needing a little help with balance. If the mobility aid is needed for extra support then a walker or rollator will the device of choice. Choosing the right walking stick, cane or walker for you will make sure you keep your body strong to continue doing the things you love to do.