Walking sticks are one of the most common mobility aids, providing support and assistance with balance.
They can also take the weight off an injured or weakened leg.
It’s important to choose the right walking stick for you or your client and get the correct handle for your needs.
It’s also vital that you get the right height to ensure the person using it remains safe. If you choose an adjustable stick, you can tailor it to the right height.
What styles of walking stick handles are available?
- T-shaped – reduces stress on the hand and hand fatigue
- Swan/offset neck – reduces stress on the wrist
- Crook – allows users to find their own comfortable spot
- Ergonomic – spreads weight evenly over the palm and is good for people with grip problems
What types of stick are available?
- Single stick – the most-used type of stick as it’s easy to use and store.
- Four-point or quad sticks – they give a wider base for support, but these sticks can be a potential tripping hazard because they are wider.
Simply follow the four steps to choose the right walking stick:
- Put on the walking shoes the user will wear.
- Get them to stand upright with their arms at their sides normally and in a relaxed bend.
- To get an accurate measurement, a second person should measure the distance from the wrist crease to the floor and round up the measurement to the nearest half an inch.
- That will give you the height of the walking stick needed.
To check a stick is the right height, place the stock’s base around 15cms from the outside of the foot. The height of the handle should be at the crease of the wrist when the elbow is bent slightly.
Take the measurement and ensure it matches the first one.
How should you use different walking sticks?
Generally, a single stick is used on the stronger side of the body, so the stick should be used next to a person’s ‘good’ leg.
Move it forward when the affected or weaker leg moves forward. The ‘good’ leg follows afterwards.
If someone is using dual sticks, they can move a stock forward at the same time as the opposite leg, then the other stick and the remaining leg.
If using a quad stick, position the base with the straight side near to the body. Ensure all four points are in contact with the ground when the stick is put down.
How do you use sticks on stairs?
Going up – Lift the ‘good’ leg first then move the stick and the weaker leg on the same step.
Going down – Lower the weaker leg and the stick first, then put the ‘good’ leg on the same step.