The long and short of walking sticks!
In the world of Harry Potter, it is said that the wand chooses the Wizard. The same could be said when choosing the Walking Stick that us right for you. With a range of lengths, materials, designs, handles, feet and accessories, the combinations are endless and should be chosen with your needs in mind. Let’s take a look at all the ingredients that go into the right selection.
Type of Walking Stick
Generally, most walking sticks are used for those that need just a little bit of support with their day-to-day activity. Walking sticks generally support about 25% of the body weight and are a good choice for those with only minimal balance issues, or single leg impairment. That said there are a range of walking stick types to choose from including single tip cane, quad stick or seat stick.
Getting a grip
Crook, Derby, Fritz/T-handle or Palm Grip are just some of the handle types that can be considered. The grip chosen needs to be the one suitable and comfortable for you.
The walking stick is meant as an aid but getting it wrong can cause issues with back and shoulders. Measuring your stick can be done by your health professional or by following some simple steps:
- Stand up right (in your normal walking shoes), with your hands hanging naturally by your sides
- Measure from the wrist bone to the floor with a tape measure to get the right length. (Measure from where the bump is!)
- Adjust the walking stick to suit.
- Adjustable Sticks Adjust by pushing the button and allowing the inner shaft to move up or down for the perfect fit.
- Wooden sticks - Turn the stick upside down (so put the handle on the ground) then make a small mark on the shaft of the stick – level with the wrist bone.
- Cut the stick to size and then take the rubber ferrule from the discard section and fit back onto the resized walking stick.
The choice is yours
Walking sticks are usually made in either wood or metal. The metal-based walking stick are generally stronger and have the benefit of being fixed length or adjustable. You can also get metal walking sticks in a folding variation – which is practical for bags or scooters. However, the aesthetic appeal of a wooden stick can not be beaten. It all comes down to your needs – but also your style!
Additional style and functionality can be added with available accessories including the Ferrule (the rubber tip on the bottom can come in different colours for some walking sticks), as well as wrist straps, walking stick holders (to attach your walking stick to your wheelchair or walker) or quad tips to increase stability.
With the vast array of sticks available, it is advisable to talk to your Health Professional to ensure you choose the correct type. Once done, you are one your way to continued activity and fun.