This time of year with visions of candy canes in my head, reminded me of the fun of learning to walk with my cane. When my doctor suggested I needed a cane, I scoffed at the idea. Still in my forties, I feared looking like a little old lady. However, to avoid falls and improve my balance, a cane was just what I needed. Now, I keep mine handy in the car for long walks. A second cane rests by my front door for trips down the drive way to retrieve the newspaper, which is especially handy on wet, snowy or icy days. I also own a pretty purple paisley one that folds up for traveling.
Various types of canes include:
Standard: Usually made of wood or metal, this type of cane typically has a C-shaped rounded handle. Standard canes are helpful for balance.
Straight Handed: Also called a “T-handle”, these canes are commonly made of wood, plastic, or metal. Using a T-handle cane, may help steady you as you walk. The straight handed (T-handle) also may be helpful for those with weak hands, although I prefer cushioned handles.
Offset:To allow for more weight-bearing, and ease the pressure put on your wrist, the shaft bends outward, usually with a flat handle for weak hands .
Multi-leg:Sometimes known as broad-based canes, these are lightweight metal canes with 3 or four short legs, offering the most support. This type of cane stands on its own when not in use.
Handles come in wood, metal or plastic and even with animal heads. Avoid metal handles, which may become cold to the touch and slippery when hands become sweaty. CMT hands, with muscle loss, may find the plain wooden handles intolerable. For a more comfortable grip, I prefer the foam covered handle. Additionally, some canes offer a Comfort Gel Grip.
Length:It is very important that the height of your cane is right for you. To obtain the best fit, stand up straight while wearing your usual shoes. With your arms hanging at your side, have someone measure the distance from the inside of your wrist to the floor. When using your cane, flex your elbow at a 15 to 30 degree angle.
Many local pharmacies offer a small selection of canes. When you know which type is right for you, check out the wide array of fashionable, colorful canes available online at :