Feeling dependent on others to move from one place to another can be mentally as well as physically straining. Most of the time it's either after small knee/leg surgery or an injury or due to old age. In such scenarios, walking sticks or any other mobility aids can provide better stability and balance.
Pro tip: Using a walking stick on the strong side of your body shifts your weight to the stronger side which makes it easier to move freely.
For the right support and balance, it is important to invest in the right kind of walking stick as well. Before choosing, you need to consider factors like stick's height, your weight, type of your injury, your requirement, etc.
So, in this article, we'll explain some important factors to consider while choosing the walking stick.
Choosing the Right Type of Stick:
Single Point Sticks
This type of sticks has a single support point at the end. They are the most common type of walking cane available in the market to provide balance while walking. People also use them as hiking poles, pilgrim's staff, etc. for trekking and hiking purpose. So, if you have minimum requirements of walking aid, then this can be your best match.
This includes quad, tripod, and other multiple point sticks. These sticks having several points provide better support and balance than a single point stick. If you need assistance with stability and balancing than these can provide the highest level of support. Also, the large base quad stick is helpful for those who need extra stability with a wider area of support.
Folding sticks are the single point sticks that you can fold. These come in handy when you want to store them away while not in use. You can easily carry them anywhere in a handbag as well. These sticks can be your support on the go.
Sticks with Seats
These are medical-grade sticks with seats to provide sturdy support and help you move around easily. You can unfold them whenever you need to rest and sit down.
If the stick is not of the correct height, the support that you should get from it might not be ideal.
Here is how you can measure the correct height for your stick:
Avoid wearing heightened footwear when determining the measurement.
Use a wall for support and to stand straight.
Ask someone to assist you with the measurements.
Measure the distance from the ground up to your wrist bone
Then comes The Handles
The common materials used in handles are foam, rubber, plastic, and wood. If you are looking for a sustainable solution, then wood and plastic are better choices than foam. However, if you are experiencing pain in your hand than the foam or rubber can provide more comfort.
Another tip is that the size of the handle should support your overall body weight. Users with joint pain can prefer a handle with a larger grip. The right sized handle also helps in relaxing your overall body and prevent joint deformities.
Here are the types:
Its rounded handle that allows plenty of space to find the most comfortable position. It also makes it easier to hook over the arm or other places. It can be convenient when opening doors, entering into lifts, and other similar situations.
Users with weakness in their hands can benefit a lot from this type of handle. They reduce stress and hand fatigue.
These sticks are similar to T-handle sticks but come with an extra curve. It provides better comfort to users and reduces hand pressure. Also, it is among the most used handles for walking sticks. People consider using it because of its style and it is a boon for people with arthritis.
These are the sticks question mark shape handle. It distributes the user's weight over the body of the stick to provide better support. If you have wrist problems or have problems holding the cane with firm grip, then this is the best match for your needs. Although almost all the type of quad sticks are available in this type of handle.
Don't forget the Tip The tips at the end of the walking sticks are usually of rubber and are on the bottom of the stick. It absorbs the weight of the user and grips the floor well.
There are two types of tips available:
Single Tip: It helps the user maintaining the balance and suitable for those who need less pressure on their legs while walking.
The Quadruple Tip: The sticks with this kind of tips can handle more bodyweight. So, if you have severe pain problems in your legs or joints then prefer using sticks with quadruple tips.
Mobility aids are to reduce your discomfort. But when you choose the wrong type, it might increase your pain. Hence, make sure to consider all these aspects in your checklist and seek a professional's advice in case of any specific problems.