Types of Walking Sticks for Elderly

Types of Walking Sticks for Elderly

Different kinds of walking sticks are used in different situations. Since we’re talking about walking sticks for older people, it’s important to determine which type of stick suits their needs.  

We’ve seen ergonomics coming into play for modern walking sticks, and that’s why you get walking sticks in different categories. These walking sticks intend to improve stability and provide safety while walking, especially for seniors. In this article, we’ll look at these walking sticks one can consider for the elderly.

Based on Design and Purpose

Based on the design and the purpose of walking sticks, we’ve got three kinds of walking sticks for you. Let’s take a look at more of them below.

Based on Design and Purpose

Standard Walking Stick 

It’s the most popular walking stick used by older adults for aiding an outdoor walk. It comes with a crooked or curved T-handle and ergonomic & comfortable grip. There are different variations to it to make it comfier.  

Some of these sticks include foam to press on while walking comfortably. Many come with adjustable heights to fit one’s size perfectly, while some aren’t height adjustable. One should hold them in a position where the wrist bones sit, and the arm can relax at the side.

Standard Walking Stick 

It doesn’t have a wider base and provides limited stability. But most elder people use it to protect their knees from walking impact and avoid the risk of falling over. Also, it helps climbing stairs or walking downhills. These walking sticks work better on smoother terrain, including coastal paths and hills. 

Trekking or Hiking Walking Poles 

Seniors who’re relatively healthy and have been sporty throughout their life can use the trekking or hiking poles. The exercise physiologist Martica Heaner, Ph.D. from NY, says in the Arthritis Foundation blog that trekking poles absorb the landing impact greatly with each step, especially while going downhill. 

She thinks it can be handy for people with joint or lower-body injuries. Being also a nordic walking instructor, she emphasizes Nordic walking for such people to walk with this pole to get relief from the impact of arthritis. 

Trekking or Hiking Walking Poles 

Some healthy seniors even seem to be trying to use a pair of trekking poles for a nordic walk. Although older people are less likely to trek or hike, they can still use these poles for better support on slippery rocky and hilly terrains.

Nordic Walking Poles 

Nordic walking is a kind of sport and exercise that includes using one or two poles while walking. It’s not the traditional walking stick and is not meant to aid traditional walking. According to Healthline, elderlies with arthritis and joint pain use these special poles while walking. Nordic walking poles are also different because of the way they’re used.  

You’ve to hold it behind you like an extension of your arm. It requires you to apply force to the pole with every step to propel the body forward faster. As a result, there will be more work intensity without much impact on the joints. 

Nordic Walking Poles 

The Optimal Aging Portal from McMaster University also talks about the benefits of Nordic walking. It says that Nordic walking using the nordic poles provides better fitness results in healthy seniors and ones with chronic disease. 

Based on Foldability 

Now, folding and non-folding walking sticks are available based on foldability. Let’s take a look at them. 

Folding Walking Stick 

The folding, also known as the travel stick, is a much-liked walking stick among seniors for its portability. It’s similar to a standard stick except that it folds down like a tent pole. It fits a travel bag, and you can take it on any trip. You can also adjust its height to suit yours.

Folding Walking Stick 

 Non-folding Walking Sticks

Many older adults prefer a non-folding walking stick as they provide more stable and secure support while walking. They make the best choice is someone suffering from limited mobility issues due to long-term health conditions. Some of these include anti-skid rubber ferrules on each stick’s base to ensure safety in slippery and uneven terrains. 

 Non-folding Walking Sticks

Based on Stability 

If stability matters, you should check out what walking sticks can ensure this for you.  

Standard Cane or Walking Stick 

It’s the most common type of cane or walking stick available. They’re called single-tip canes because of having a single tip that touches the ground. These sticks are generally lightweight but offer less stability than other types of canes. They’re also to navigate in stairs and tight spaces.  

Standard Cane or Walking Stick 

Tripod or Three-tip Walking Stick 

The tripod walking stick or cane has an ergonomic design and a broader base with three legs or tips. Each of these legs includes an anti-skid rubber ferrule providing three different stable points for added stability. They work as excellent mobility while reducing seniors’ risk of falling over. 

Tripod or Three-tip Walking Stick 

Quad Cane 

The quad stick, mostly known as the quad cane, comes with a broader base of support at the bottom. The quad stick provides maximum stability among all the walking sticks. 

Its low center of gravity reduces the risk of it toppling over. So they make the best choice for older adults with limited lower body strength or serious lower limb injuries. 

Quad Cane 

Final Words 

If you’re an older adult yourself or reading this article for your loving senior, you see a wide variety of walking sticks in this article. We recommend you consult your physical therapist before making your decision. 

You can also consider the buying factors to find which one perfectly suits your needs. These factors include wrist straps, shock absorber, sturdy construction, height adjustability, and lightweight. 

Older people will surely enjoy their outings better if they end up with the right walking stick. Moreover, it’ll help them take healthy walks and stay fit.

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