Why is it important to use the right length of walking stick?
Using a stick can help relieve the pain and fatigue you feel while you are walking, and therefore the pain and fatigue you feel after. It acts as a balancing aid, letting your core muscles need to work less to keep you upright. It helps you look up and less down, at trip hazards and uneven ground. Essentially it saves your precious spoons. There’s other things we’d rather spend them on!
If you are anything like me, you will be choosing to use a walking stick because your body is asking for help. Maybe even crying out for help. So it’s really important we don’t cause ourselves any more damage in the process. We aren’t interested in taking one step forward and three steps back!
Your walking stick should stand up straight when you use it, at right angles to the ground. Your elbow should only be slightly bent, no pressure or any twist on your wrist. There should be no discomfort in or the feeling you’re lifting your shoulder. It should feel easy.
If your walking stick is too long for you, you will only find comfort using it at an angle to the floor. It won’t stand up straight. Or if it does, you will have to lift your shoulder to accommodate it. It won’t feel easy. You might find you can’t have your palm over the top of the stick, you have to move it down putting pressure on your wrist. It might feel uncomfortable or painful.
If your walking stick is too short you might lean to one side to use it. Your shoulders won’t look square and you might stoop forwards when you walk. You will feel uneven around your waist, putting pressure on your lower back. It won’t act as a good balancing aid for you.
So how do you make sure you’ve got the right kind of length?
Measure. Measure. Then measure again.
Wear your normal every day shoes, or if you are buying your stick for a special occasion, wear those special occasion shoes. Your walking stick can cope with a change of about 6cm in heel height, but not much more. Also remember if you measure wearing your shoes, your stick will feel different if you use it without those shoes. So a stick you measured wearing heels will not feel the same when you are in your bare feet around the house. It will be too long.
So stand in front of a mirror if you can, keeping your shoulders square, have your arms relaxed by your side, no tension in your body, your face looking forward. Ask someone else to use a tape to measure the length from your wrist to the floor.
Give your arms and shoulders a shake out, stand up straight again and ask them to measure again. It might be different, so shake it off again and measure for a third time.
That’s all! You should now know the length of walking stick you need. It’s worth taking the time to measure to avoid buying a stick that’s the wrong length for you and even worse, potential injury. Save your spoons and walk safely.
Or if you have an existing walking stick you find is a comfortable height, then measure that. That’s even better!
You can go to the Measuring page on the website for advice.