Walking stick or a walking pole ? Which is better for the wrist?

When I finally had to admit to needing something to help with the balance, I opted for a walking-pole, convincing myself that this was nothing to do with vanity . I reasoned that it would be less of a strain on my wrist, because I'm not (theoretically at least) actually leaning on it, as I would be with my hand on a walking-stick handle. Nevertheless, my wrist does get rather tired and achey - though the legs generally run (plod?) out of steam first.

Do you have any logical/scientific reason for your choice of stick or pole ?

8 Replies

  • Arthritic walking stick? I tried one. It was very good for my wrist.

  • I'm not sure about wrists but I prefer a thick wooden walking stick that I get from charity shops. I got a lovely one last week, the base is about as thick as a 10p piece. I like antiques and old fashioned/natural things though. I found a fisher stick was most comfortable for my hands but I didn't like the clunking noise it made. Often those lovely flowery sticks you can buy have really painful handles to hold, they are much too pointed at the top and dig into weak hands. I've never really found a perfect solution.

  • I to have just got my first walking aid and i went for a fold up stick to try and i think it helped as i tried to keep up on a day out.My back and hip didnt seem as bad as the next day.I was shy to use for the first time ,but having something to lean on is good.I would recommend a stick.

  • I find that one of those Nordic walking sticks with a spring inside takes the strain off my wrists. I recently gave it to someone who needs it more than me but plan to buy another.

  • i tend to use crutches as I find them easier to manage than a stick and they do seam to me to be more stable

  • I use a crutch which I bought myself from


    because it has an ergonomic handle and I bought a neoprene cover which adds more comfort and is washable.

    I prefer a crutch because the collar stays on your arm should you require both hands.

    Hope this helps.

  • Thank you very much for your answers and ideas.

    Rowantree- I had never heard of an arthritic walking stick (had mental image of something knotted and crooked) So looked it up on Google and discovered it's a normal stick, except for a special ergonomic handle, which looks as though it would help by spreading the weight on your hand/wrist,instead of concentrating it on one spot..

    Zeninguem- I didn't know about Nordic walking poles with integral springs either, so looked up those as well. Seems it's a rather specialist subject and there are various different sorts; but this being Scotland there are plenty of hiking/outdoorsy shops, and I can look in one or more of those, and try out what they have. (But I do think it would be nice to have springs in ones shoes, though, to help propel us forward, and to counteract the sensation that all our walking-energy is absorbed straight into the ground)

    Bev and Primary Bursar - Thank you for the ideas; personally I don't think I'm ready for a crutch - yet, at least. But I like the jolly appearance of some of the Cool Crutches! One of the big advantages of my pole, is that I can swop it easily from one hand to the other, depending, for example, on which side of the steps there is a handrail,

    Badger- from my point of view, a folding stick might be less suitable, because I need an aid pretty much all the time when I'm out of the house. It would come into its own when you are sitting down and need to "park" it though, I should think

    Interesting comments, Spabbygirl, as you appear to have tried a big range of walking sticks, and yet you've still not discovered the ideal one. I hope you find it eventually- if it exists.

    The advantages of my (bog standard) pole are - the ease with which I can swop it and use it in my other hand, depending on the position eg of a handrail, the tiny wrist movement needed to advance the pole for my next step, and the ease of forming a wide-based triangle with it and my feet when having to stand ( I think the length helps here)

  • Hi to Primary-Bursar and Bev5085 -

    I'm eating humble-pie sooner than I could have thought possible.

    I asked my physio how to prevent my wrist getting tired from using my walking pole, and she replied by saying I should use 2. Hmmmm. That would be very unwieldy (how on earth would I get my shopping up the front path, for example?), plus I am VERY reluctant to use my right hand as a walking-tool. I depend on using it for very precise drawing; it is also weaker than the left one. To me it would be a bit like using a flute to hammer in a nail.

    I ended up trying out an elbow crutch, and found it really reassuring and steadying for my L wrist - which still gets tired, but at least I feel more secure. Of course the physio doesn't really approve of using a single walking aid, but she accepted my reasoning.

    I am now using it about half of the time. It skids on black ice though, but I suppose anything would - and it is even harder to park than the pole

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