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The long and short of walking sticks!

08 Feb 2023

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.

Single tip Walking Sticks: A good option for those requiring minimal support from their mobility device. They come in many colours and styles, with foldable options available. They are easy to use in tight spaces, and store easily.
Quad Tip Walking sticks: For those requiring a little more support, the quad tip walking sticks can handle a little more weight baring. With four tips the
Walking Stick Seats For those that require a little more support or are working on building their mobility, the walking stick seat is a perfect option. Having the built in seat mean you can walk for longer distances, while being confident that you can rest when you need to.

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.

Crook & Hook Handle: One of the strongest handles, it is usually made in one piece and is in a smooth hooked shape. The rounded handled allows a natural swing and therefore can assist the user to walk  with rhythmic pace.
Derby Handle:The user’s weight is placed a little more over the shaft, therefore resulting in better stability. As the made separately from the shaft, it can be made in a range of materials and designs.
Fritz or T-Handle: This handle is thought to reduce the pressure on the hand of the user. Often used in more formal canes, the full weight of the user is directly over the shaft.
Palm Grip Handle. These handles are designed to assist hand pain or arthritic hand conditions.  The grip more widely distributes the users weight to reduce the pressure on the hand. These handles are also thought to offer increase stability. They are hand specific – so talk to your health professional to determine which hand you should use.

Just right

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:

  1. Stand up right (in your normal walking shoes), with your hands hanging naturally by your sides
  2. Measure from the wrist bone to the floor with a tape measure to get the right length. (Measure from where the bump is!)
  3. Adjust the walking stick to suit.
    1. Adjustable Sticks Adjust by pushing the button and allowing the inner shaft to move up or down for the perfect fit.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.

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