Selecting a cane

An accoutrement for injuries or old age. With my herniated lumbar discs, I find myself temporarily walking with a cane which is amusing at best.
The only cane I have is a horse auction cane, which has a built in extension for measuring the hands(height) of horses at a horse auction before bidding. It was never meant for orthopedic use and is showing signs of terminal fatigue

The aluminum or polycarbonate ones at the drug store kind of leave me cold. I mean if I have to put up with a cane for the next month or so, I’d prefer a cane with a bit more style.

I’d like a sword cane, but they’re illegal in California
I’d like a cane with a built in flask like my grandma had, but that would be problematic to have along when driving a motor vehicle.
A Molucca cane has a long military tradition and can very very attractive, but the ones I’ve seen are well above my pay grade.
The same with really good Alaskan Diamond Willow
I do have a good looking branch on our Quince tree but the thickest part of the shaft will need a few more years to reach the 38" length I need, and I need a cane before my old cane breaks in two, so that DIY project is out of the question.

So I purchased a Blackthorn. It’s a gnarly one with the thorns rounded, but not neutered like most Blackthorn canes I’ve seen.
And it has enough heft to discourage a hooligan (I did study escrima several years ago.)

So I was wondering, does anyone here require the assistance of a cane? What do you like or dislike about them? Do you have any favorites?

6 Likes

As of now I am no longer using the cane. Thank God! For a while I had excruciating knee pain and used it constantly. Luckily it was on my weak side so was not an immediate problem with drawing my EDC. Doc put me on ibuprofen and acetaminophen brother in law advised about glucosamine and chondroitin. Pain is gone so cane is in storage. What I hated was constantly doubling back to store or restaurant to recover the #@$% cane. My buddy Hugo.

3 Likes

Kudos to your brother in law. Cure the ailment as opposed to masking the pain…not sure on your issue, but collagen may help as well.

2 Likes

NSAID is not as simple as masking pain.

Opiates and opioids mask pain but do not treat the cause. Anti-inflammatories treat pain, and may or may not address the cause. Reducing inflammation allows healing to occur, or chronically may prevent recurrence of nerve impingement.

Unless the condition is transient and self-limiting, actually identifying the issue is critical to effective treatment — throwing home remedies randomly at a disabling problem is just buying lottery tickets.

Good luck, @John292. I have done well with my deteriorating lumbar on long-term naproxen, weight loss, and flexibility exercises. YMMV.

4 Likes

Thanks for the suggestion. Problem was/is bony protrusion in the knee. Uncomfortable during the day but excruciating when I laid down at night. Probably why I would forget the cane while out and about. It is totally under control for now, but will remember the collagen if it flares.

2 Likes

Collagen helps out the cartilage, I was associating it with the glucosamine/ condroitin combo, but I think most of us can use all the help we can get in our achy joints. For an anti inflammatory,if you want to go natural, white willow worked well for me, after the dr.prescribed ibuprofen went unused after I read about the liver damaging dosage he had me on, and my stomach felt better as well. Tumeric another natural anti inflammatory, and also has other benefits.

2 Likes

I have an antique cane made of hardwood that has taken a pronounced bow from the previous owners and has a fine-looking/comfortable feeling rough antler attached at the top for a “T” handle. The canes I’ve looked at which I might purchase someday if my Cold Steel thermal plastic extruded ‘blackwood’ stave ever fails, are those offered by Cane Masters

3 Likes

Yeah, I’m stuck with one until I need a wheelchair. I use a plain old aluminum cane I inherited from my mother when she passed. I also have a folding one like George98. I also have a very nice sassafras walking stick, but much to my sadness, it’s not shaped right to be able to use it as real, full time support. Pity, it’s beautiful.

I’ve considered getting a sword cane, but the laws concerning them are pretty shitty, so I’ll not get one. Honestly, I’m not really picky, as long as the thing can support my weight without putting my wrist at a dangerous angle, I’m golden.
I kinda watch for nice ones, but since C-19, I don’t really go anywhere that would have better than what I’ve got.

I’ve been living with this since the damage to my spine was done in 1991. The last 10 years or so prior to winning my disability were hell. My issue can’t really be ‘fixed’, although I could have steel rods inserted along my spine, as well has whatever they could do about the badly damaged nerves and nerve channels. I’ve actually known 2 people that had this surgery, and both said what they thought was agony before surgery was nothing compared to what came after. So, yeah, no. Hard pass on that.

Once I finally won my disability case, I was able to get medical help. I do take what I’ve been told is a pretty stiff dose of opioids for the pain. Took the doctor (GP) and I about 9 months to find the sweet spot - it doesn’t make the pain go away, but reduces it to where I can function. We went into the process with me stating, “As low a dose as we can possibly get that lets me function.” If I have to leave the house, go to store, doctor, or eye surgeon, for example, I time it so I’m 6 hours past the last pill (take every 4 hours) as the specific medication I take clears in 5 or 6 hours.

I’ve been at the same dosage for about 4 years now. I don’t crave it, and have no desire to increase the dosage, and while the pain gets pretty bad if I’m too long at the store or doc’s office, I can bear it until I get home. Bringing in and putting the groceries away sucks though. Prior to getting actual medical help, I could barely stand, and it took 2 canes to walk, and I fell a LOT. I took massive amounts of Aspirin and Ibuprofen, to the point I couldn’t even keep food down very often. I’m glad I knew about Acetaminophen or I’d probably be dead from liver failure.

Chronic, life-long essentially uncurable pain is no joke. The part that scares me the most is that some people have it worse than I do. The pills I take scare me as well. I need them, so I take them, but I’m careful. I don’t take extra. I don’t and won’t abuse them.
This is carved in stone. While I know I’m physically dependent, that is, if I stop taking them (not considering the pain I’d be in), I will have withdrawal, I’m not addicted. I don’t and won’t have the mental anguish that an addicted drug abuser has, which can be far worse than just the withdrawal.

Be careful with your body, folks. If your boss tells you, “Work your ass off!”, maybe don’t. Your 60+ year old self will thank you.

(Edited for readability)

4 Likes

One of my favorite shows ever is Newsradio. There is an episode where Bill (Phil Hartman) starts carrying around a cane. Hilarity ensues.

I highly recommend watching the episode if you’ve got 22 extra minutes.

3 Likes

Am there, know it too. Here if you need someone to speak with an informed perspective. We don’t have to do this all on our own.

2 Likes

Thanks. It can indeed be lonesome, and I don’t mean ‘no other people around’. I really think there’s only a couple of types of folks that can understand what we go through. Others in that situation, and people with enough letters after their name to understand what the MRI techs put on the report.

2 Likes

Tractor Supply stores sell a 36” Whip Cane made of hardwood (hickory I believe) and nicely burnished and lacquered. Prices at $16 each they are affordable.
Pro tip: Buy rubber cap for the end

I take my cane hiking, in places that prohibit concealed carry and in downtown areas where you will encounter panhandlers. Watch a few videos on how to use a cane in Defensive situations and you will like it even more. In poor areas where folks can’t afford guns and training I noticed how many carried canes. That persuaded me to try it out.

My cane helps with balance and takes some weight off a knee that bothers me at times.

Nobody has ever bothered me when carrying a cane and it is allowed EVERYWHERE.
Hope this info helps.
Be well.

7 Likes

Even on airplanes.

6 Likes

This may not be super helpful, but I ordered a decorative cane for a friend of mine who needed one from Etsy. It had a bear head made of brass(?) for the handle and the cane itself was some sort of hardwood. It looks really cool, and he gets compliments on it wherever he goes. I don’t remember how much it cost (its been several years now), but if you do a search for canes on Etsy, there are tons of options.

3 Likes

If you are looking for a cane that is also strong enough for self defense, check out these from Cold Steel.

https://www.coldsteel.com/walking-sticks-canes/

I have the walkabout which is very heavy duty, and the city cane which is more stylish but extremely strong.

4 Likes

After my knee replacement.i I used a cane from the VA. Has an ergonomic grip. I use it on occasion. As far as regular canes. If you don’t have to bear alot of weight on them. Almost any kind will work.

3 Likes

My father made canes from a grass he found growing in the desert near Tucson, AZ. I ended up with about 30 stalks more than six feet tall. He made me one and left me his jigs. My cane is strong and lightweight.

I am going to have to work on making canes one of these days.

3 Likes

I have a cane from Dick’s (when they sold guns & ammo) after I broke my back. It has a very stout brass handle & is much harder to damage than wood. It’s made from the reproduce organ of a Buffalo. Now, the Buffalo are not killed for the organ but for meat processing so ethically, I’m o with it. When it starts getting flimsy. I just rub a bit of Viagra on it.



4 Likes

I recommend “fashionablecanes.com”. They specialize in hardwood canes (and shillelaghs), many with steel or solid copper tops. Impeccable quality. Got me through two knee replacements. Plus, for close in defense superior to a knife, and you can carry them anywhere.

2 Likes

Hilarious that you got it from Dick’s.

7 Likes