When it is time to change a ferrule on your walking stick, it can be a little overwhelming with so many different types and sizes of ferrules available. So, this week we thought we would put together a handy little guide for you.
What Is A Ferrule?
In case you didn’t already know, a ferrule is the bit at the bottom of a walking stick, usually made from strong rubber, that is used to grip the walking stick securely to the ground.
They come in an abundance of shapes and sizes and like shoes, they eventually need changing when they start to get worn out.
When Do I Need To Change A Ferrule?
It really will depend on various factors such as how much you use your walking aid or the type of walking aid and ferrule that you have, but a good general rule of thumb is to check your walking stick ferrule every three months.
Then you will able to asses any wear and tear and see if it is time to replace your ferrule. Like shoes and car tyres, if they are left to wear out too much, they won’t be effective and could increase the chance of slipping or falling.
The ferrule will require replacing if, like a tyre, the “tread” is worn down and it is just flat rubber on the bottom.
Also, a common sign that the ferrule needs to be replaced is, again like a tyre, it has worn unevenly so there’s lots of tread on one side but not much on the other.
This is due to the person using the walking stick leaning heavily on the stick in use and if the ferrule is worn unevenly it definitely needs replacing!
Another sign that the ferrule requires replacing on the walking aid, is that the inside metal ring, which provides a stopper between the end of the stick and the outside of the rubber, is now showing through the rubber at the base.
What Size Of Ferrule Do I Need?
Just like choosing shoes, you need to ensure you get the right size of ferrule otherwise it will not adhere strongly to the walking stick and may slip off in use.
The best way to find out the size of ferrule you will need is to measure your walking stick first. Not, the length of the stick though! We need to measure the diameter of the stick, basically the width of a circle.
The easiest way to do this is to get a tape measure or ruler and measure the base of the stick, however you will need to remove the ferrule first before doing this.
Once the ferrule has been removed simply measure the diameter of the stick for example if the walking stick has a diameter of 19mcm then you will need a 19mm ferrule.
How Do I Remove A Ferrule From a Walking Stick?
Carefully! But seriously, the best way is to carefully, but firmly wriggle the ferrule off. If you have limited hand strength then, if possible, ask a family member or friend to help get the ferrule off.
Ferrules can appear to be almost impossible to remove. A tip for gaining a bit of extra grip is to remove the ferrule whilst wearing a pair of rubber gloves and twist the ferrule holding the walking stick as still as you can (a second pair of hands always helps!)
Once the ferrule is off, you can put your replacement ferrule on. Again, it will appear that the ferrule won’t simply slip onto the walking stick. Don the rubber gloves again and twist the ferrule on to the end of the walking aid.
Eventually you will gain purchase and it will twist on. Once you have it part of the way on to the stick you can tap the stick on the floor, with the ferrule on the floor, to ensure that it is firmly in place.
Now, you will have probably noticed that there is rather a lot of choice when it comes to ferrules, so, let’s have a look at the different types and help you choose the best ferrule for your walking aid.
What Types Of Ferrule Are Available?
As you can see from the very expensive graphic we have created here (no CGI digital background enhancements here, we aren’t making a Star Wars film you know!) there are various shapes and sizes of ferrule.
1. This is your standard ferrule that will fit most standard walking sticks. Made from a strong and durable rubber that will grip the surface when you walk. These are often referred to as “Z type” ferrules and usually come in either grey or black (although there are some more brightly coloured ones around – take a look at this pink one!)
2. The heavy duty ferrule, as its name suggests, the heavy duty ferrule has been designed to be even more robust than the standard ferrule and can take a bit more bashing and scraping.
3. The shock absorbing ferrule will absorb much of the pressure placed on it when you are using your walking stick or cane. This can, along with reducing pain for you, in the long run help your walking aid to last longer too.
4. Flexible ferrule. As you can see from the shape of this ferrule, it has a section that is slightly more flexible instead of the straight shape of the standard ferrule.
5. The bell shaped ferrules have a, you’ve guessed it, a bell shape and this heavy duty bell shaped ferrule has a different style of grip, sometimes known as a pimple grip, at the end.
6. and number 7 are hard ferrules, designed to be stable, sturdy and to last longer than the standard rubber ferrules.
Ferrules do come in a range of sizes – commonly 13mm, 16mm, 19mm and 22mm – so do ensure that you get the right size for your walking stick.
This covers the main types of walking stick ferrules that are available, most fit under that ferrule umbrella.
There are other variations including tri-support ferrules that give extra support and stability and also metal ferules with spikes for some serious walking!
If you find that you use your walking stick in the dark or in British summer weather (i.e in the rain and wind) then you may be interested in flashing cane tips.
They can help you to be more visible in poor or dark conditions and to be seen when you are crossing the road.
Walking Aid Ferrules At Ability Superstore
Here at Ability Superstore, our customer service team have a vast wealth of knowledge of everything in the world of mobility aids.
If you want some advice on ferrules, walking aids or have seen a mobility aid that you are interested in that isn’t on our website, then please do get in touch with us.