Being handicapped, one notices others who are. It’s kinda like when one is pregnant – you notice sisters of the belly! I have needed a cane for most of the last 15 years and have gone through variations on the theme – most by my choice. But one option was given to me by the hospital (the dr. or the PT, or by insurance – who knows). It was the classic model: curved top. If you know anyone who still uses this kind of cane, throw it away and get them another! More functional canes can be had from any pharmacy or medical supply store and cost as low as $19.99.
Why curved top canes are still given to people, or even available, is an ignorance that is hard to understand. Curved canes ruin one’s shoulder, elbow joint, tendons in the forearm, wrist, and also cause arthritis in the joints of the hand. It did all of that to my arm within two months (except arthritis). So, I’m speaking from experience.
I thought to myself, “Why would the medical profession give me something that is bogus?” Without an answer, I made my way to the local medical supply store and purchased a cane designed for balance and for how the hand, arm, wrist, and shoulder work. It cost a few $ more because I chose one with a colored pattern that I liked. The cheaper ones were brown or black.
If you know someone with a curved handle cane, save them. Curved handle canes not only ruin the entire arm that is forced to use it, but they do not provide good stability either. Why? Because the arm, shoulder, elbow, wrist, and hand are working too hard and out of normal motion to use the cane!
When I see someone with a curved cane and I can offer them to try mine, they all smile with the difference they feel. Everyone has the same rhetorical questions, “Why did my doctor (or physical therapist) give me this one?” or “Why has my doctor or physical therapist not pointed this out to me?” I don’t know. All I know is that MS has given me enough challenges, I did not need them compounded by the negatively cascading effects of a bad cane.
Save your friend or loved one. Change their cane!