How to Choose A Walking Stick
Is there a suitable time for using a walking stick?
And are walking sticks made for a specific group of people or occasions?
If you are like me, these might be some of the lingering questions that come to mind whenever the word—walking stick is mentioned. With our magic walking sticks, let’s hit the subway to ask the experts the following questions:
- Who can use a walking stick?
- What are the factors to consider when choosing a walking stick?
- What are the best materials for a walking stick?
- What are the walking sticks on the market?
- What are the effective ways of using a walking stick?
- And many more.
People Who Use Walking Sticks
To most people, walking sticks are suitable for the elderly and those with physical disabilities. Yes, these are the people that readily come to mind. And unfortunately, their conditions compelled medical experts to recommend mobility aids to ease their pains and balance their movements.
Regardless of age or permanent medical condition, walking sticks are beneficial in other aspects of life. So they aren’t unique to vulnerable people in our societies or restricted solely for health conditions or reasons.
The need for walking sticks goes beyond body injuries. They play an exciting role in fields such as religion, tourism, film, fashion, and defense, among others. Without further ado, let’s delve briefly into these other sectors where the use of walking stick has become a common practice:
In major religions worldwide, you may find religious leaders holding custom walking sticks during critical religious events. A typical case in point is in Islam, where the Imam delivers the Khutbah while leaning on a stick. It's also common knowledge to find the Roman Catholic Pope in public with an extraordinary stick in hand.
Mountain hiking is one exciting activity that tourism offers. However, it sometimes comes with unexpected challenges. To ensure safety when climbing upwards or downwards, hikers use walking sticks to support their weight or body from tipping off. These nature lovers can also use walking sticks to clear objects obstructing their trails—bushes, spider web, and thick roots.
A movie is all about storytelling. And depending upon the character, whether the story is fictional or factual, it should appear believable to the audience. To tell some of these stories, actors and actresses use walking sticks to portray their unique characters.
Fashion is a world of beauty, appearance, and colors. In this aesthetic environment, designers used walking sticks as fashionable accessories. The designers and models in this industry use them to match their unique creations and sell their brands to a specific market niche.
This may sound strange to some people. But some people indeed used walking sticks to defend themselves. Some custom walking sticks have hidden storage space in them for keeping knives or swords. These are rare walking sticks used as defensive or offensive weapons to safeguard against bad people or wild animals.
Choosing A Suitable Walking Stick
Having explored these other areas where walking sticks are needed, let’s now look at the factors to consider when choosing a walking stick. I'll focus on five keys:
Height matters significantly in the selection of a walking stick. I can't make emphasis on this any less. When choosing a walking stick, either for yourself or loved ones, you must be mindful of the size. This is because the wrong height wouldn't provide the intended benefit to the user.
A walking stick designed purposely for an adult wouldn't be a good fit for a child. This must be at the core of your decision–making process because it's crucial to the balance and mobility of the user. Follow the steps below to figure out the correct height you need for your walking stick:
- Put on your regular walking pair of shoes.
- Stand in a natural upright position or against a wall for support.
- Allow both arms to drop naturally to your sides.
- For accuracy, ask someone to take the measurement (Use measuring tape).
- The measurement should start from the wrist joint to the floor.
- For the best result, you can repeat the process to compare figures.
The strength and durability of your walking stick depend on the material used. This will determine if it would last for long or not. Luckily, you can find walking sticks made from authentic materials. From these varieties, you can make an excellent choice. The most common materials for walking sticks are:
Walking sticks made from wood are popular for various reasons. They are less expensive, durable, and can be carved into any shape to fit the user's taste. They can be made from hazel, oak, chestnut, and ash. Other potent and beautiful woods can also be used.
Some walking sticks are lightweight, durable, and attractive. These are mostly made from aluminum or steel. Often, metal walking sticks are adjustable. This provides more flexibility and comfort to the user. Metal walking sticks are sometimes called telescopic.
Engineers refer to carbon fiber as graphite fiber. It’s a polymer and a powerful material for producing many items. It’s five–times stronger than steel and still lighter weight, making it a suitable choice for making walking sticks. A walking stick made from carbon fiber material is also known as a telescopic.
How cozy would it feel to use a walking stick without a handle? Well, a walking stick is incomplete and useless without a suitable handle. A handle is one of the vital factors to consider when choosing a walking stick.
It provides the support and ease of use to neutralize the pressure from your body. Also, it gives a unique identity to your personality. Though there are more handles to pick from, let me highlight six of them here:
As the name suggests, these handles are bent to provide unique benefits to the user. Undeniably, they are the oldest handles still in vogue today. Usually, they are crafted for everyday use. With crook handles, you can hook your walking stick to your chair when not in use.
These handles are designed and shaped in a right–angled style. Because of this unique shape, people sometimes called them T–handles. They are classic designs that offer stable and comfortable support to their users. The reason is that users can grip their palms easily to the handle with no difficulty.
They look like the T–handles but offer more grip and comfort than most other handle types. They can also be called ergonomic handles. These handles are crafted to fit the palm and to provide equal distribution of pain. It's ideal for people suffering from weak hands and pains. For instance, it's suitable for patients having rheumatism or arthritis.
When you’re searching for a handle that blends the designs of the crutch and crook handles, then the derby handle is highly recommended. Its curved end allows the user's palm to be gripped firmly to the walking stick. This prevents the palm from drifting. Most people are in love with this handle because it’s elegant and suitable for attending official functions. You can also hang it over to your chair or table when not active.
Medical practitioners often recommend Fischer handles to patients suffering from arthritis and rheumatism. They come in various models that offer comfortable designs that help spread weight and pressure across the palm. You'll find models for both hands—left and right handles.
Petite means small. So, Petite handles are created for people with small hands, especially women. Though it’s like the Derby handles, it's relatively small in scope. These handles also provide relaxation and support to their users.
There are different walking sticks available on the market. Knowing them would help you pick the kind that offers you the best support and balance. Here are the four most common types of walking sticks you can look at:
These are the most common and affordable walking sticks on the market. Mostly, you’ll find them in crook or T–shape designs. They make it more convenient for their users to maintain stability when moving.
These are walking sticks that offer more stability than the standard ones. This is because they have wider bases or come with four-pointer stops instead of one. They are suitable for people with intense mobility challenges, particularly seniors and people likely to tip–off easily.
From the name, these walking sticks can be folded and unfolded. They have a single–pointer end that touches the floor. However, you can adjust them to any suitable height to fit the user. Folding walking sticks are ideal for people who want to travel while taking care of their balance. Also, they are sturdy and light, making them a preferred option for these same travelers.
People with sharp pains may need to take some breaks from time to time. So, the most suitable mobility aid for them is the seat walking stick. As the name implies, these walking sticks have seats attached to them. Usually, you can find them with a single–point stopper or multiple stoppers. After walking for a while, users can use the seats when they feel they are tired.
Walking sticks come in different colors. You can go for bright or neutral colors. This gives you the option to pick your favorite colors out of the lot. It can be blue, green, yellow, white, black, or pink. It's important to know that you can use colors to convey feelings, beliefs, or personality.
You can also ensure your walking stick color matches your dress, your pet, or some unforgettable events in your life. There is more you can do with colors. To help you further understand the emotions of some colors, I have picked the common ones below:
- Blue Color—a blue walking stick conveys the power of trust, peace, and serenity.
- Red Color—a red walking stick expresses the power of love, passion, and strength.
- Yellow Color—a yellow walking stick speaks of joy, optimism, and confidence.
- Green Color—a green walking stick radiates prosperity, health, and harmony.
- Black Color—a black walking stick evokes the feeling of power, wealth, and mystery.
You aren’t limited to single colors. You can pick walking sticks with multiple colors that resonate with the vibes and charisma you want people to associate with you.
How to Use Your Walking Sticks:
- Always wear your typical pair of shoes before measuring your walking stick.
- Your wrist should always be at the same level as the walking stick’s handle.
- Always keep your hand slightly bent at the elbow level.
- Always hold your walking stick opposite to the affected part of your body.
- Always ensure the affected leg moves with the walking stick in the opposite hand.
- Always lift the strong leg first, the stick second, and finally the weak leg when you want to climb up a staircase.
- You shouldn’t discount buying extra mobility accessories to aid your mobility.
Wrapping It All Up
The vulnerable people in our communities—the aged, injured, and those living with physical disabilities are most likely to use walking sticks. This would help them ease their pains, balance their movements, and to improve their mobility.
Yet, the benefits of these mobile aids are for everyone. As you have read, the use of walking sticks transcends the medical field. They are great tools in the entertainment, sports, fashion, and tourism industries. Still, these are few sectors of the economy out of the lot.
It’s vital to discount the notion that walking sticks make one feel old. Every challenge comes with its unique remedy. And walking sticks are there to solve specific problems at specific times. For medical conditions, you must embrace them to worsen your condition further not.