Chosing The Best Cane For You

This time of year seeing candy canes everywhere reminded me of when my doctor first told me I need a cane.

When my doctor suggested I needed a cane, I scoffed at the idea. Still in my forties, I feared looking like a little old lady. However, to avoid falls and improve my balance, a cane was just what I needed. Now, I keep mine handy in the car for long walks. A second cane rests by my front door for trips down the drive way to retrieve the newspaper, especially handy on wet, snowy or icy days.

Various types of canes include:

Standard: Usually made of wood or metal, this type of cane typically has a C-shaped rounded handle. Standard canes are helpful for balance.

Straight Handed: Also called a “T-handle”, these canes are commonly made of wood, plastic, or metal. Using a T-handle cane, may help steady you as you walk. The straight handed (T-handle) also may be helpful for those with weak hands, although I prefer cushioned handles.

Offset: To allow for more weight bearing, and ease the pressure put on your wrist, the shaft bends outward, usually with a flat handle for weak hands .

Multi-leg: Sometimes known as broad-based canes, these are lightweight metal canes with 3 or four short legs, offering the most support. This type of cane stands on its own when not in use.

Handles come in wood, metal or plastic. Avoid metal handles, which may become cold to the touch and slippery when hands become sweaty. Plain wooden handles may be too uncomfortable for CMT hands, for those of us who have muscle loss. For a more comfortable grip, I prefer the foam covered handle. Some canes offer a Comfort Gel Grip.

Length: It is very important that the height of your cane is right for you. To obtain the best fit, stand up straight while wearing your usual shoes. With your arms hanging at your side, have someone measure the distance from the inside of your wrist to the floor. When using your cane your elbow should be flexed at a 15 to 30 degree angle.

Many local pharmacies offer a small selection of canes. When you know which type is right for you, check out the wide array of fashionable, colorful canes available online at or

There are some very attractive canes!! I bought a good-looking one at the hospital gift shop for my dad last year.

My PT thought I should have a cane to use when I don't have my AFO's on and during the winter to help with walking on snow. My Doctor wrote a prescription and I got the cane today. They have a large selection to choose from. Different styles and colors. I chose a phsychedelic (sp) blue one. I am 48 years old and didn't want the standard black or silver. Now I will be stylin when I use it!!!

psychedelic blue, sounds great. My first cane was a paisley floral purple one that folds up for traveling. I got so many compliments on how pretty my cane was, that I didn't mind so much having to use it. The cane helps me walk more safely and even faster.

I have not gone out in "public" with it yet but the first peson I hear that makes a snide remark about having it at my YOUNG AGE (48) will feel the weight of it!!! Seriously, I will Just think your day will come when you will need one. I will not embarrassed by the cane...I will stand tall while I look at them watch the ice when you leave!!!!

Good for you! I doubt anyone will make any snide remarks. I hope!

Actually, I've found that most people are nicer to me now when I have my cane. Some will ask what happened, how did I get injured, a skiing accident? Good opportunity to inform them about CMT.