- Disabilities & the Disabled
Choosing a Folding Walking Cane
Folding Walking Canes
While a walking cane and walking stick is the same except in terminology, a folding walking cane is obviously different to a conventional one. The clue is in the name, it very conveniently folds which is perfect for travelling, easy carrying or for storage.
As an arthritis sufferer I often use a walking stick, (I'm British so we use the term stick but many use the term cane) which certainly aids my mobility and eases my day. When choosing a cane the choice can be confusing, what type, style, material etc. to pick. For a variety of uses I own several types which I personally have found useful.
Recently I bought a folding walking cane for ease of use when travelling and found it ideal for even everyday use due to its very light weight compared to a traditional wooden walking cane.
Folding walking canes are generally made up of four to five sections of hollow tubing in which the spring mechanism is fitted allowing the cane to be drawn apart into its folded position. Most will also employ adjustability of length of the cane depending on the height of the user. It is very important to use your walking stick at the correct height to ensure it gives the required support without putting unnecessary strain on the user's arm, shoulder or back due to incorrect adjustment.
While there are plenty of colours, styles and finishes to choose from selecting the best handle is an important choice. The standard handle is simply a right angled extension making the walking cane look rather like a figure '7'. A Derby handle may seem similar but incorporates a curve the handle often making it more comfortable to the user than the standard one and in addition the Derby handle is easier to hook onto the forearm to free up both hands if required. The crook is of course a rounded hook shape which is used on most walking sticks making it easy to hang onto almost anything when not used but can put strain on some users particularly if they are very heavy in weight. Ergonomic handles, often termed the 'Fischer' handle spreads the users weight over the palm surface of the hand making it an ideal choice for the larger person. The material handles are made from is usually tough plastic, metal or a variety of wood.
It is possible to have a handle made from something such as silver, bone or intricately carved but these would be custom made to the owners desires and naturally would be much more costly but would ensure a unique and individual item.
The benefits of owning a folding walking cane have been stated for its convenience but in general terms walking aids are not just useful but vital for anyone with challenged mobility. Walking in general has a great many medical and health benefits including increased fitness and mobility. Being more active burns calories, reduces weight and can provide a more positive outlook for people which is especially important. Anyone who is disabled or has mobility issues can certainly benefit by being more independent and so using a mobility walking aid such as a walking cane is ideal.
What should you look for when choosing a new walking cane?
- There are several factors to bear in mind when picking a walking cane. Consider your height, should you be especially tall or short, ensure the cane can adjust to your perfect length. Your ideal cane height is approximately the distance of your wrist bone with a hand by your side, to the floor in regular footwear. This measurement is the size of cane you require for best comfort, use and support without strain.
- With your new folding walking cane there are additions available that might be useful. A wrist strap is the most obvious one. Easily attached around the cane close to its top, the wrist strap ensures you won't drop your stick to the ground should you lose your grip on the handle. In time, the toughened rubber end cap, the ferrule, the bit that hits the ground will eventually wear out but is easily replaceable at minimal cost. A lightweight carrying case to store your folding cane can either be purchased separately or sometimes will be provided along with your cane by the supplier.
- Conventional solid walking sticks are made from a variety of materials, often wood such as ash, cherry, hazel, chestnut and of course oak but can also be from aluminium, hospital provided sticks usually are. However it should be noted that folding walking sticks are by their design and need to incorporate the folding mechanism, manufactured from tubular aluminium in sections. This does mean that excessive weight must not be used and there are limits regarding very large persons.
- In the short time I have owned my folding walking cane I have found it to be brilliant for everyday use and absolutely recommend it for every occasion.
Choose a Folding Walking Cane
Adjustable, light weight in over 20 different award winning designs.