Guest Author - Jeanetta Polenske
Choosing a walking stick or cane is more complex than one might think. Although there are those who collect them or use them for an accessory, for the most part they are purchased to assist in mobility. The correct cane is one that is appropriate in height and provides stability to the user to improve balance, support and shifting weight off of a leg that is injured or weak.
So letís start from the top with the cane handle. This may be one of the most important aspects to consider about a cane. The cane handle must be comfortable for the user. It needs to fit your hand correctly while serving to support the amount of weight that is shifted. Make sure that the material is of high quality and that it is well made. There are a number of types of handles including the derby, the fritz, the crook, palm grip and ball handle.
The main portion of the cane is called the shaft. As expected, the shaft is where the primary weight distribution is transferred from the handle to the tip of the cane. Canes can be made out of acrylic, aluminum, bamboo, carbon fiber, Lucite or wood. The choice of material depends on personal preference and should be based on weight requirements, durability and comfort.
Finally, there is the ferrule or tip of the cane. The ferrule bears the full weight of the support and can add traction. The most common tip is the rubber stopper. A quad cane can stand freely. It has four ferrules attached to a base and is used when additional stability is required. A metallic cleat can be added during icy conditions to help grip icy ground.
Canes are also made for specific purposes. The white cane is longer and thinner. Its color alerts others that its user is visually impaired. Folding canes can be folded so that they can be stored easily. Canes are made that have forearm support to reduce the strain on the wrist. Tripod canes are available, sometimes with a seat attached. Adjustable canes have two shaft pieces that telescope so that the length of the cane can be adjusted.
If you just need to replace worn parts on your cane, you can order just the handle or tips. Accessories include hand straps used to prevent loss of the cane and clip-on devices to stabilize your cane against a table. A collar can be added to your cane for style or to reinforce the connection of the handle and shaft.
Begin by consulting your physician and rehabilitation personnel to help you make a choice that is correct for your medical needs. Purchase a cane that is right for your weight, height and condition. Personalize as fancy a cane as you desire; the variety and styles of canes available are virtually endless.