Walking sticks for stroke patients

Walking sticks or canes carry many benefits to stroke patients. They are valuable tools for stroke patients in their journey to independence. However, experts recommend evidence-supported specific steps for better recovery; it is time-dependent.

If you read the following two posts, it will be beneficial for you in your journey to independence after a stroke.



Benefits of using walking sticks (canes):

Following are the several benefits of using sticks.

Walking sticks improve walking among stroke survivors.

Yes.

Research reveals that walking sticks can improve walking ability, particularly walking speed and step length.

Canes can improve walking speed and step length.

Walking sticks reduce stress on the affected limb. This can be particularly useful for individuals with weakness or paralysis in one arm, as forearm crutches can support the affected arm, allowing them to move more easily and comfortably.

Walking sticks boost self-confidence.

Not only that, but canes boost self-confidence.

Walking sticks facilitate social interactions.

Since they help to move around it strengthens social interactions as well.

Besides its use as a walking aid, canes have several other practical applications such as turning a switch on and off, to reach small utensils.

However, first of all, a stroke rehabilitation specialist should assess you or your loved one and recommend a cane.

Canes can improve step length and walking speed of some stroke patients. It also improves their confidence.

Tyson and Rogerson, 2009

Types of walking sticks (canes)

  • Single-point cane: typically used by individuals with hemiplegia or hemiparesis on one side
  • Three-legged (tripod) cane: This type of cane has three points.
  • Quad cane: offers more stability with four points of contact with the ground.

Parts of a cane

Several types of canes are available for buying. it varies with its handle type, the ability to adjust, and the base.

This post may help you as a guide if you have decided to buy one. However, those planning to buy one should ideally consult a physiotherapist /physical therapist to determine the specific type of mobility aid they need.

A cane consists of three parts: handle, stick, and base.

  • Handle: The handle can be curved, inverted U-shaped, or T-shaped. The latter seems to be more suitable for those having a stroke because of the weaker grip they might have.

  • Stick: The walking sticks can be either wood, acrylic, or aluminium. The aluminium walking sticks are more advantageous because their length can be adjusted with a push-button mechanism.

  • Base (ferrule): The stick’s tip or base can be either a single-point, three-legged (tripod) or four-legged (quad). Those with a one-sided weakness use either the tripod or the quad ones because they cannot use a walker and single-point canes do not provide much support.
A single point cane
A single-point cane
A four-legged cane

Choosing the correct walking stick?

Most people who need a mobility aid do not consult a health professional. Moreover, those who sell products may not be well trained to assist their clients with selecting the correct one.

General tips when using canes

HealthLink BC gives the following general tips when you use a cane.

  • Look straight ahead, not down on your feet.
  • Clear small rugs, cords etc., that anything that could make you fall.
  • Be careful about pets and small children.
  • Check the rubber tips of your cane regularly.
  • Either avoid or dry wet floors.
  • Never use the walking aid either sit down or stand up; use the free hand on the surface.

I have included several links to resources that help you to choose the walking stick suitable for you. If you are aware of better information pieces, you are welcome to post those in the comment section.

Selected resources

Further reading

Author: Ed Jerard

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