Studies have shown that more than 60% of walking stick users haven’t measured their stick or cane correctly. Using a walking stick that’s not the right height can leave you at risk of muscle pain, balance issues and an increased possibility of trips and falls.
Many people think that walking stick heights are determined by the overall height of the user, but that isn’t actually the case. People come in all shapes and sizes, with varying proportions, and what you really need to consider is the distance from your hand to the floor.
If you’ve had a previous walking stick professionally measured, then you know that it’s the right height. If it’s comfortable to use, you can simply measure your existing walking stick and buy a new one that’s exactly the same length.
If you’re new to buying a walking stick, or you’re currently using a cane or stick that hasn’t been correctly measured, then try one of the following methods. Always remember, when measuring for a walking stick, to wear your usual shoes.
If you’re measuring without a walking stick:
- Stand up straight. Dangle your arm down beside your body, then lift your hand at the wrist so that your palm is parallel to the floor. Measure the distance from the floor to the palm of your hand.
If you’re measuring with a walking stick:
- Stand up straight. Let your arms hang loosely by your sides. Ask someone else to turn the walking stick upside down. The end of the walking stick should be level with your wrist. Find a walking stick that reaches the correct point (the bump on your wrist) or, if you prefer, have one cut down to size by sawing off the end. Walking sticks typically come with a rubber cap (ferrule), which you should be able to remove and put back on once the stick is at the right height. If you prefer, you can purchase a height adjustable walking stick that can be set to the correct length.
If you’re using the correct walking stick, your shoulders should stay level and shouldn’t be forced into a hunched position. Your arm can bend slightly at the elbow. You shouldn’t have to stoop or lean over.
Buying from somewhere that offers a wide selection of walking sticks and canes will ensure that you don’t need to settle for anything that isn’t quite perfect. There are so many options including folding walking canes, walking sticks with seats and quad canes with a wider base for extra support. Once you’ve measured for a walking stick and you’re feeling sure about the length that you need, take some time to think about the extra features that you want. Browse for a while, find the best walking stick or cane to meet your needs, and buy your new walking stick with confidence.