Walking Canes and Sticks - Mobility Devices Offer Stability to Keep Moving
Walking canes are the simplest mobility aid around. These sticks provide balance, helping you to get around safely and avoid falls. Typically, these devices help to compensate for a weaker leg resulting from an injury or an illness like diabetes or arthritis.
People often refer to these items as walking sticks, or simply canes. At one point they were a fashionable item, sported by gentlemen even if they had no physical need for one. Some designs had dual purposes back then doubling as a weapon with some being also a sword. Over time, the design was improved for better traction, grip and stability.
The wide variety of walking canes to choose from may seem surprising to many people. The vast array of design options available is testament to the continuing demand for these types of disability aids. Some common types include:
- Bed cane: This type is common in infirmaries and hospitals. As the names implies, it assists people with mobility issues to get in and out of bed.
- C-Cane: This is the simplest of the lot and the one most people will think of first when the words walking stick or cane comes up. These are sticks with a curve for the handle at the top.
- Cane sling seat: This doubles as walking support and a seat after unfolding it. This is a convenient product as someone with arthritis may need to rest occasionally when moving around.
- Folding: It is possible to carry these types anywhere as you can quickly fold and unfold them when you need to.
- Hemiwalker: When balance is a serious problem, this might be the best type to use as it unfolds to provide a wider base for stability and as such offers greater support to the user. As the name suggests, these are partially walkers with a quad cane base.
- Seat Cane: Unlike the soft sling of the cane sling seat, this type has a sturdy seat that opens out when in use and most models come with three or four legs.
- Quad canes: The top of this type uses the standard grip, but the wide, four legged base offers greater stability and support for users.
How to Choose the Best Walking Canes
To ensure that walking canes serve the purpose of providing stability for seniors, or people with arthritis and other conditions which affect mobility, some factors are worth noting. As simple as they are, choosing one takes a discerning eye and a full understanding of your needs. Points to consider when looking for adequate support are:
- The extent of your disability
- The height of the cane: You must be able to maintain proper posture when using the cane. Leaning over indicates that it is too short, and this could cause further injury or resulting you losing your balance. Make sure that your elbow is comfortable; the ideal angle for bending your elbow when using a cane is around 15 degrees.
- The type of grip: Depending on the conditions of your fingers and hands, the grip is important when choosing a walking stick. For people who have arthritis in their fingers and hands, a wide grip or handle is best. Choosing handles with foam or other soft, flexible material reduces stress on the joints.
- The type of material and the thickness: Both factors denote strength, which is important since the user will likely need it for a long time.
- The design: It is easy to opt for something that is attractive, but when it comes to personal safety, being practical is the first choice.
- Time of use: If you will be using the cane at night, buying one with LED lighting makes perfect sense as others can see you easily and you provide lighting to see where you are going as well.
The folding types are ideal for people who may not need to use them all the time. It can fit into a small bag so you can always have it ready when you get tired. Whether you opt for a traditional style or something more modern, the grip must be comfortable.
Many companies now also offer a number of accessories for these products that help to make your life easier. Some of these accessories are:
- Cane holders
- Cane covers
- Cane straps
- Replacement tips and bases
- Replacement handles
Walking canes provide the right amount of support for someone with arthritis in the hips, knees, ankles and feet that causes mobility problems and who needs some extra support for balancing. These simple mobility aids are great for helping people with mild mobility issues maintain their independence with minimum fuss. Due to their durability, it is unlikely that the item itself will need replacing, although new tips and handles will sometimes be necessary.
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