A board certified neurologist with a specialty in multiple sclerosis explains five tips for selecting a cane if you have MS.
These recommendations come from Achillefs Ntranos, MD, a board certified neurologist specializing in multiple sclerosis and demyelinating diseases, and chief neurologist with Treat MS.
Specific Support Need
“Determine which area you need the most support for,” says Dr. Ntranos. “If you mostly need the cane for maintaining balance, then choose a regular cane.
“If you also need to bear weight on the cane, then use a multi-tip cane which offers more support.”
The Right Length
“Ensure the cane has the appropriate length for you. If it is too long or too short it will cause more balance issues than it is trying to solve.
“A rule of thumb is that with your arm hanging on the side, the top of the cane should reach the crease of your hand.”
“The right cane handle can prevent wrist discomfort. If the handle is too angled up or down it can cause unnecessary strain to your wrist and lead to wrist pain.”
Personalize the Cane
“Using a cane can be an emotional decision for many patients, so make sure you choose one you like and fits your personality.”
Canes come in different colors and may even have designs on them. You can even hang some miniature chimes on it so that as you walk, the chimes tinkle.
You can hang beads, feathers or tie ribbons on the cane; be imaginative if this suits your personality.
“Always consult with a physical therapist to help you choose the right cane for your needs and train you to use it properly.”
Dr. Ntranos is the chief neurologist and MS specialist at Treat MS. His goal is to combine concepts of personalized medical management with evidence-based clinical decision making to maximize the treatment benefit for each MS patient.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.