Walking Sticks Are A Symbol Of Strength And Style
Posted by Mike Phipps on September 3, 2020
Mobility aids are part of many people lives. If you need help getting around, there’s no way of getting past the visible signs of mobility aids such as a walking stick. While this should never be a source of embarrassment, in reality, many people struggle with both confidence and self-image.
However, if history has taught us anything, it’s that walking sticks and mobility aids are not signs of weakness. In fact, their practical use is all about making people stronger on their feet. And, as our History Of The Walking Stick blog explains, we can be fairly sure early humans relied on extra support when walking became a challenge.
As time passed, walking sticks became associated with strength and power, and people even began to adorn them with decorations, including jewellery!
Some walking sticks, or canes, have even become part of film history. Take Charlie Chaplin and Fred Astaire for example – two notable icons whose star quality was intrinsically linked to eye-catching tricks with canes – and that’s just for starters!
There are also countless examples of powerful and influential people who used walking sticks to help their mobility. And, regardless of where you stand on certain aspects of his politics and points of view, Winston Churchill was one of those that needed that little extra bit of support. Churchill’s first encounter with a walking stick was likely to have occurred at the age of 18 after he was bedridden for months and needed rehabilitation following a potentially deadly 29-foot fall.
Then you have Old Hickory, better known to non-history buffs as Andrew Jackson – the 7th US President. The walking stick or cane Andrew Jackson carried actually concealed a sword. He also famously once beat a would-be-assassin half-to-death with his cane before being restrained! Remarkably, the only reason the 67-year-old escaped the bungled murder plot was the fact that two of the wannabe killer’s guns didn’t fire! Both were later tested and found to be in working order. The odds of this good fortune are calculated at 125,000 to one!
Walking sticks can invoke a sense of extravagance and affluence, too. In Victorian Britain, walking sticks made a clear statement about wealth and stature, and this has left a lasting impression on canes today. Just think of the charity fundraiser in the film ‘Dumb & Dumber’, when Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels are dressed to the nines in bright pastel-hued tuxedos. The outfits would be incomplete without accompanying walking sticks or canes!
Batman’s most questionable and flamboyantly dressed (which is saying something) arch-nemesis, The Riddler, was one of several sinister characters to use walking sticks. Lucius Malfoy, from Harry Potter, is another case in point. As is Major Arnold Toht, the Gestapo nightmare from ‘Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark’. Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka, of ‘Charlie And The Chocolate Factory’ note, should also be filed under – Troubling Fictional Figures Synonymous with Canes!
Don’t panic, we’re not suggesting that any of these baddies should be seen as trophy faces for walking sticks. Still, you’d never say any of them came across as remotely weak!
The point being, nobody should feel walking sticks are something others will judge them on.
Of course, this is easier said than done. Walking sticks and mobility aids are there for a reason —to help you get mobile. The psychology of accepting this can be challenging, particularly among people who were once very active.
So, whether you’re looking for extra stability walking sticks, walking stick seats or want a more traditional design, walking sticks can be everything from fashion accessories to status symbols.
Needless to say, to get any benefit from walking sticks and mobility aids, the equipment must be set up correctly. Fail to take this initial step, and there’s every chance the ‘aid’ will actually do more harm than good.
In the simplest terms, walking sticks should be set at a height, so the top portion of the handle touches the inside of the wrist at the palm. Don’t worry if that sounds unclear, take a look at our guide How To Measure A Walking Stick for some extra guidance.