Walking Canes for Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a life changing disease that can be difficult to cope with. Different MS patients may suffer from mobility problems of different severity and for some, even walking becomes somewhat of a challenge. As a solution, MS patients opt for either walking canes, walkers, or wheelchairs depending on their needs.
When choosing a walking cane, it’s best to get help from and consult your physical or occupational therapist beforehand, so you have an idea of what to look for. Choosing the wrong kind of cane may result in making things worse. Important things to consider about a patient’s condition are:
- Coordination & Balance - MS will affect a patient’s coordination to some extent and with bad coordination, there will be a loss in balance. With the help of a professional, you will be able to decide what kind of mobility device to use.
- Muscle Spasticity and Weakness - Other common effects of MS are muscle spasticity and loss of strength. Both of which can be a problem with the wrong type of cane because it may also end up in loss of balance.
Choosing the right cane is not as difficult as it would seem. Let’s break it down:
- Type of Cane
- Wooden Cane - Wooden canes look great, feel great, but may not be as functional and practical as metal canes, mainly because they are heavier and are usually not adjustable. The pros are that wooden canes are cheaper and widely available.
- Metal Alloy Cane - Metal alloys are lighter which makes them easier to handle for MS patients who suffer from weakness, and normally come with adjustable options; either foldable or retractable. Some are a little more expensive than wooden canes, but they are highly portable and are definitely more suitable for users who want better mobility with the same balance as wooden canes.
- Cane Tip
- Single tip - The standard kind of tip, single-tips are what you see on most canes. They provide decent balance, but requires some level of control over the cane.
- Quad tip - Similar to single tip canes, with the only difference being that there are four tips instead of one. This provides better balance and weight distribution.
- HurryCane - This one is a little different. It comes with a 3 point base, somewhat like a tripod, but is flexible between the base and handle. Some patients find the flexibility to be in their favor, and some don’t.
- Cane Height
- Arguably the most important factor, the height of the cane is very important in maintaining the posture of an MS patient. One of the biggest problems MS patients face is bad posture. With the correct height, users will find it easier to balance themselves and maneuver. For more flexibility, get an adjustable cane. At Foldawheel, we have the world’s most portable walking cane at a very affordable price.
One of the biggest challenges that MS patients face is psychologically coming to terms with the disease, and the constraints that come with it. Many will have a hard time accepting having to use any mobility device as an aid, but once patients understand how it helps with rehabilitation, things get a lot easier.