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Hello WalkingStickForum Community!

I wanted to introduce myself as I am a complete newbie to this site (this is my first post). I'm Tam, but on here, you can call me CitizenCane[1]. I'm a guy who loves his passions and I can see myself "falling in love" with canes. I think they are an elegant solution to fatigue and imbalance, all while being disguised as a fashion accessory. My other hobbies include being an amateur projectionist (movie night at my house!!) and Blue Man Group.

My 'first' cane (and my current carry-around) is actually an old wooden dowel that's acquired a sort of rustic finish. It doesn't sound like much -- but it will do the trick until I have a proper, beautifully carved, and also ornate cane. Then I will be among the WalkingStickForum Elite - there is an abundance of elegant staves in these subforums.

I joined this community looking to make a few new friends and learn about walking staves and canes. I have a few questions for the wisened old-timers of these forums:

How do the pros carry a walking stick or cane? Dominant side or not? Tips for hand placement[2]? Has anyone else developed shoulder or arm injuries from prolonged cane use? What was the severity of these injuries (I could tolerate some pain for added nobility and power of a cane)[3]? I was also curious if anyone here has expertise on canes designed specifically for competitive speedwalking.

I am greatly excited by this community and eagerly await your replies and friendship.

-- Tam

[1] This is just a little movie reference that slipped in for the film buffs. The joke is that my username is also the name of a movie, but I have altered the spelling to be WalkingStickForum themed.

[2] I know I should just grab it and go, but I sometimes overthink things and get flustered.

[3] When I was researching potential new hobbies, fear of injury almost made me pass up the walking stick & can lifestyle entirely.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I just realized that I signed off twice in my previous post (in my message and my signature) - I'm just getting used to the setup here, so you'll have to excuse the beginner mistakes.

-- Tam
 

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Welcome to the site CitizenCane! I'll make further comments later, just wanted to welcome you aboard right now!
 

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Hello CitizenCane,

You mentioned "wisened old-timers." The older I get, the more i have to remind myself that "there's no fool like an old fool." Take anything I say w. several grains of salt.

Most of what I make and carry are for hiking thru woods and fields. Longer and heavier than most of what are called walking sticks, and certainly longer than any cane i know of. But I do use some shorter sticks, and have made a few canes. The terms are not definite, but for me, the difference between a walking stick and a cane is the handle shape. The grasping area of a stick is either the shaft, or a finial. A cane has a handle not in line w. the shaft. Sticks are often for style. Canes often serve a function, commonly support and better balance.

The cons of carrying a stick? Some awkwardness. Its hard to carry anything else in the hand w. the stick/cane. I have seen sticks w. dangling pouches, but those seem awkward. When I know I will be toting something, I have a shoulder bag on the side opposite the stick. If you carry the stick on your "dominant" side, you will need to switch grips anytime you open a door, grab a wallet, etc. If you go into a restaurant, you may have to find a place where the stick won't trip the wait staff. On airplanes, my wife's cane will fit in the overhead, but nothing tall enough for me will, and I don't yet have a collapsible.

Otherwise, the only real problem I've encountered is hand blisters. I've read some people saying blisters are easier to get w. smooth handles, but my experience has been quite the opposite. The smoother the better. A few weeks ago, I "walked" a stick whose handle area I had carved w. vertical flutes. I thought it looked really nice, but after a mere 1.5 mile walk, I could barely stand to grip the flutes. I do place a ridge, or some slight ornament at the edges of the grip to provide a "grab" if my hand slips.

I've seen several recommendations stating that the right height for a cane is just high enough that the handle will reach the gap between the thumb and forefinger when the arm is hanging relaxed at the side. I find this useless. When I use a cane, often enough it is because my back is causing me problems. The worst thing is to bend forward when going down an incline. If I do not have a cane long enough that I can't go down steps w/o markedly bending forward, the cane is worse than useless. The same goes for taller sticks and hiking sticks. I'd rather have a stick that was a bit too tall, and transferred stress to my arms and shoulders, rather than one that left my back, knees, and/or ankles holding as much strain as usual.

I seem to be getting long winded, so I'll stop. Read thru the forum contents. Lots of good info. And ask questions.

Happy walking!
 

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Welcome,

When I walk and carry a cane style (which is not often) I usually carry it horizontal in the middle of the shaft of my dominant hand occasionally dropping it to tap the tip. No weight is placed on the handle or grip. It's purpose is to deter.

If there is a need for weight to be put onto the cane, there can be problems associated with prolonged use depending on style of handle and height. Wrist, elbow, and shoulder fatigue and inflammation can occur. If a cane is not proper height it can cause a stooping and lower back issues. But usually the ones who need to be putting much weight on a cane won't travel far or long.

When hiking/camping, I use a stave size stick, what I call walking stick. It is usually as tall as my shoulder at minimum to my height max. I have a smooth handle that puts my hand at a 45 deg. angle almost parrallel with my shoulder. If I am on smooth terrain, again I usually have it in the middle of the shaft carrying it horizontally, or lightly gripped, picking it up every 3rd step to place in front of myself, then walking past it. No weight is placed on it. I test rocks and streams with it or poke a fire, or herd children back on the trail, or for when the terrain gets choppy or incline/decline. A those points you can 2 hand grip with one hand on top to leverage yourself or balance.

As gdenby said, they can be obtrusive and encumber you unneccesarily. The question becomes what do I do with it while I am not strolling :)

I wouldn't worry about injury until you start carving your own ;)
 

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1) How do the pros carry a walking stick or cane? Dominant side or not? Tips for hand placement[2]? Has anyone else developed shoulder or arm injuries from prolonged cane use? What was the severity of these injuries (I could tolerate some pain for added nobility and power of a cane)[3]? I was also curious if anyone here has expertise on canes designed specifically for competitive speedwalking.
1) it depends on whether you are using it because of physical need or not! You usually use it on the opposite side of an injury. if no injury, it doesn't matter, unless you are using it as a weapon, then you would want to use your dominant side!

2) not from using a cane, I can see that using one may be difficult with an injured arm or shoulder! I developed a bad tear in my Rotator Cuf fortunately it is my left side!
 

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Level path or up and down the hills and rocky ledges - those factors influence my stick selection. My knees are very arthritic and my up and down hills stick has two recessed grip areas, a lower one for climbing and a higher one for descending steep slopes. Anything at all will help to deter an uncontrolled and aggressive dog on a neighborhood walk.

I made my very healthy son a stick, and I'm working on a second. He walks and camps in northern California areas where people have been attacked by cougars (not the human kind) and even bobcats. Not sure about a cougar, but I could put a serious dent in a bobcat.

On level ground, I tend to hold my stick in the hand opposite the knee that is barking worst on a given day, hitting the ground at the same time as the foot opposite the stick.

Sticks as tools: you can add all manner of things, depending on your interests. Compass, camera mount, surveying device, etc.

I have been doing this on some weekends and after work for about a year. Each one is a learning experience and an opportunity to try something different. That keeps it interesting.

(Still hoping to be attacked by a human cougar, although it occurs to me that if she considers me young, she would have to be in her 80's.)
 

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Hello CC, yes, if we hung out, I'd advise to not overthink this stuff......the whole beauty of sticks is different ones for different uses and the sheer versitility of them. IMO, sticks can be put in 4 categories: Canes- bodily support; Shillelagh- weapon; walking stick-of the hiker ilk; and walking stick of the gentlemanly persuasion, including crops..

You say you carry a stick, so you have some experience with them. I'd say that folks use sticks in a way that suits them, but I find that I carry and use all my sticks in all kinds of different ways( however, none as a cane, but I do have canes).

I live in Florida and the woods here have a thick, viney underbrush, so a short crop style stick is better for me, to help move brush out of my way, but not get tangled.. However, in the Summer, I usually carry a longer snake stick( forked on the end), as snakes are more prevalent.
 
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