Walking stick

Hi folks,

Since 1996, my walking balance has always been pretty poor. In '98 it got a lot worse but a couple of years after that improved but my balance was always quite bad at times.

Despite the balance issues I used to walk around unaided and I preferred to use my legs rather than not use them.

So for years I have been walking with no real aid.

A few years ago I went to Devon with my parents and it was also around this time of my life that I found walking was getting to be more of a chore for me, I had slowed down a lot and my left leg muscles kind of felt heavy and tired.

I found a bit of driftwood on a beach and decided to use it as a walking stick. It helped greatly on my stay and when I got back home I decided to use a proper walking stick and it just so happend that we had a walking stick that was originally my great aunties, so I was quite honoured to use it.

The stick, or should I say cane, is great and has offered a lot of help but where the handle is metal it can feel uncomfortable to hold at times and it had no wrist strap so I could easily drop it or if on a windy day, it could blow right out of my hand due to a strong gust of wind. Plus also, the foot was a thin rubber tip that could slip on wet surfaces and also the cane isn't quite tall enough for me and overall the cane doesn't offer a great deal of stability for me.

These were picked up by my Headway's manager and she let me use a proper walking stick with a moulded handle which is more comfortable and has more grip. It is taller as well which is better to use on sloped paths. The rubber tip is wider which adds a little more stability, I'm not sure what it is like on wet surfaces just yet as I haven't tried that out yet. I told her that it helped me more and she said I could keep the stick as a present which was nice :).

But all in all, it helps me get around a lot easier so I thank my manager Deborah Robinson for that :).

I sometimes use my cane still at times, if I am doing very little walking I will. But further walking I will use the new stick. I like to use the cane sometimes as it looks dapper and I have had some compliments in the past on the cane :).


13 Replies

  • Nice to hear.

    This said you shouldn't really be slowing down, damaged or not your young. or rather a degradation of ability should be explored by Physio or similar.

  • I use a Leki walking stick in low light or darkness conditions because I am very visually dependant on my eyes with my balance. So reduce my visual ability and I become very unstable and fall or sometimes can't move as the ground seems to not be there even though it is! Initially I was issued with a thick wooden NHS walking stick but my young son didn't like me walking with what he considered an old people's stick! So I bought a more trendy walking stick from a hiking store, that adjust to the correct height for me. If you need to walk with a stick it's cool to do so and it sounds like you look just great with yours.

  • That's similar with me, I depend more on my eyes/left eye when it comes to balance and if I can help it I try not to walk around at night. If I am out at night, I am usually with someone and I hold onto them as extra support.

    When I found the bit of driftwood from Devon, I took that home with me and the plan was to use that stick from then on as support. I thought the stick was cool and it was similar to a staff so it made me look like Gandalf the grey/white wizard from The Lord of the Rings movies :).

    But my mum said that when we get home I am going to use a proper walking stick as the staff was apparantly 'ridiculous' and I would get dirty looks from passers by. Well she was right about getting dirty looks, that's for sure but then again, I usually get dirty looks from people mostly because of the way I look, hence the right eye and all.

    So that is when I was introduced to my great aunties stick/cane and I shall admit, although the driftwood did offer a little stability, it did not offer a great deal, the cane was better. And also the cane looks exactly like the cane from Half a sixpence. I don't know if you have seen the live performance of it at theatre but in the play they have a prop that looks just like the cane :). I haven't seen the movie of it so I don't actually know if it is in the movie as well.

  • I've been trying my best not to use a walking stick but just did an internet search on the Loki stick you mentioned Strawberry and I think that this is a good idea! wonky on my feet also but try not to use any aids or safety nets ! But i think this would help. thanks for the tip1 x

  • Initially I was using it all the time outside the house having progressed from the Zimmer frame I was discharged with. I was under a neuro ontology clinic and have vestibular exercises which did improve my balance a lot. Now I prefer not to use the walking stick in daylight but I do sometimes lose my balance and fall. However at night it makes me so unstable that I can't move without the walking stick. If I go out in daylight and then get caught out with the evening darkness I use my sons shoulder to guide and support me! Cognitive overwhelm and fatigue also affect my balance and during bad patches I still do the vestibular exercises. I have had lots of falls and somehow haven't broken a bone yet but have ended up with extensive bruising and grazes! My son, when I had the NHS issue thick wooden stick, kept telling me that I would be embarrassed walking with that stick! After a little while I realized that he was the one who felt it wasn't a 'cool' stick to be seen with. My leki is a walking stick not the walking pole ones that they also do. I also have a shower stool and grab rails as another place I lose my balance. I took a long time to agree to those and had to have several falls when showering before I gave in!

  • Good for you Matt, nothing wrong with using whatever you need to use, it's so important to stay mobile! :)

  • That's right, the best things in life are free after all :).

  • I got my mum a walking stick (not because of her post concussion syndrome but for her arthritic hip) in the local market where there is a Timpson's cobblers. They had several sticks and I could try them out to see how comfy they were. I took the one with the best handle which is also adjustable in height. It can fold up in your bag and has a rubber bottom for more grip. It was about 15.95, a bit more expensive than the ones you get in Argos and similar but worth it.

  • I have a walking aid...it is called cristiky - my lost for words name for stick that stuck LOL

    It has the moulded handle and is the right height for me...very important or it can cause problems in joints over time...BUT when I was in the US a few years back and I met up with some BI friends in Washington State I only had a travel cane and we were going to visit a waterfall so my friend brought along hiking sticks for both of us. What a joy they were. I have never felt as safe as with those babies. I don't care whether or not they looked daft, if I could find the same thing here I would buy it in a heartbeat.

    Whatever gets us mobile and aids safety and independence is all good in my book :)

  • Thank you Matt2584 and others. It feels really odd to be reading that some of you have some of the same balance problems and how you're overcoming them. I keep ending up being given very low walking frames in hospital which have caused spinal problems (I'm tall).

    I know I shouldn't care what people think, but using any kind of equipment in public seems to provoke odd responses and I don't want to go too off-piste in case I do more damage! I too have tried not to use things like grab rails as I've been given such mixed advice from every other physio - either you must use in this manner - or don't use as you'll become too reliant and your muscles will become weaker.

    I'm really keen to get back to doing the amount of physical exercise I did before as I feel quite literally stuck and sad without it. I have another physio assessment tomorrow and will ask again armed with all these tips! :-)

  • Hi 0101 and no problem for the tips :),

    It's good that your hospital has given you walking frames but not so good that they have been too low for you causing you back problems.

    Years ago, mainly around 2001-2007 I had very very low confidence and I did not want to go out of the house a lot and if I ever did I used to always care aboutwhat others would be thinking of me, it's as if I always thought people would be staring at me.

    I am more confident now and get out of the house much more and people do not look or stare at me all the time, I do get some dirty looks from people, mainly because of the way I look, but those kinds of people are either incredibly ignorant people or they envy me or they are in love with me haha :). Most of the time, people really don't care and there are mostly concerned about getting from A to B.

    i hope you get to do more of the physical exercise you are hoping to do :).


  • Thank you for being so wise and humorous to boot :-)

  • Thank you very much :).

    It's one thing to be called 'humorous' ( something that doesn't happen much, but 'wise' as well!

    I am stoked :).

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