As we age, we become a little more unsteady on our feet, our eyes, knees or hips may not function as well as they used to and brief periods of dizziness may cause us to lose our footing. Whether we have arthritis, eye sight problems, and physical disabilities or have grown up needing adjustments and adaptations for mobility purposes, one of the most basic yet important tools they need is a walking cane. A cane can be an important aid to mobility, particularly for the elderly people with arthritis as it is useful not only in helping them remain safe as a pedestrian, but it also can be a signal to others that they are capable and outgoing.
Canes have a universal usage. Considered among the most primitive tools to seek support, show status or search way, canes have been chosen and used by millions in almost every age. This is probably because it is the most basic, versatile and low maintenance option. However, with so much variety currently available in the market, choosing the right cane itself is a crucial and important decision. While knowing how to use the cane effectively and properly is very significant, getting and keeping the right tool can make all the difference.
The following simple criteria will help you choose the right cane for yourself that could also best match your (or your parents’) needs in arthritis:
Fundamentally speaking, there are two major and common types of canes, a straight cane that cannot collapse, and a folding cane which can be easily disassembled and put into a handbag or on a shelf for storage when not in use. Then these two types have more varying models such as a telescopic folding cane, a model with an elastic cord down the middle that separates into many sections and a two section folding cane. One can also decide which sort of tips and grips he or she prefers, as each has its own ergonomic and tactile advantages.
Ideally, a cane should be adjusted to the height of the user. Therefore, the best practice would be choosing a cane that could be made longer or shorter to fit your height. A cane’s length should be exactly half of your height. In other words, with respect to your body posture, while you are standing upright, your elbow should be slightly and naturally bent. This would best describe your cane’s ideal length.
Different canes are made of different materials such as aluminum, fiberglass and carbon fiber. There are also some new composite materials e.g. titanium model. Traditionally, wooden canes have always been into practice but not a preferable choice now mainly because of their looks and noisy sounds they make when you tap them on the ground.
While cheaper, aluminum is very fragile because once it bends, it loses its shape and usefulness.
Fiberglass, on the other hand, will bend somewhat but will eventually return to its rightful shape because of its flexibility. It, however, can be a little heavier for some, especially if used by females. At the same time, fortunately, the newer types of fiberglass are very delicate and lightweight. Over the years, the fiberglass can become discolored, taking on a slight yellow color. This, however, has nothing to do with strength or life of the material.
Carbon fiber is considered as the most modern and innovative cane material. While relatively more expensive, it is very light weight and durable. It will bend a little, but not as much as the fiberglass. At the same time, it can break more easily than either the aluminum or fiberglass.
You should choose a can with the most comfortable type of handle which could fit your grasp very well. Also make sure that you are able to grasp the handle perfectly and easily.
Cost-effectiveness & economy
While aluminum and fiberglass canes are considered as cost-effective and economical, you can always go for costly options providing your pocket permits you to do so.
Last but not least, as you effectively choose and use your cane, do remember that being physically active is vital for your overall health and psychological well-being in arthritis. Your own personal technique of using any cane will evolve naturally along with your own level of courage as you explore your environment with a new degree of comfort and safety. With your rightly chosen cane, you won’t have to let your disability hold you back, even in arthritis.