Author: John Roberts-James
Yes, and more. Very much more.
If you've got an injury or a strain using it will help you mend faster. Getting you back to work or your sporting activity quicker. Many people, especially middle-aged women look down on it. Not so. If the hip is wearing out, you need all the help you can get. Don't try to put a brave face on it. Your body changes.
If you've got a bad leg, hip or foot and need a stick to temporarily help you - hold it in your hand on your good side.
If the affected or painful side is let's say on your right, then hold the stick in your left hand. It pairs with the bad side. That is to say, when the right foot touches, the stick touches down at the same time. The left foot then steps through, and the combination of right foot + stick advances again.
Bad side + Stick = Improved Mobility
Then there is the matter of Balance. Frequently elderly people are unsteady on their feet. A walking stick certainly helps here, but the height needs to be measured by a competent therapist. The health centre's physiotherapist will be able to advise and check.
The length of the stick should be such that when using it, the elbow should be just slightly bent. If it is very bent, then the sick is too long. If the elbow is straight, then the stick is too short.
If you are a strong youngster I would recommend a fairly heavy stick. But if you are older rather than younger, the reverse applies, and you will be better served with a lighter one. There is a valid reason for this.
Again if you are a strong youngster I recommend either a straight stick rather than one with a curved handle.
Elderly? You might be better served with a normally curved handle. It is easier to hold, and is one to which you would possibly be more familiar.
You should have a rubber ferrule on the tip, greased with Vaseline so that it can be removed in the instant. I use the 'hill climbing' variety, where the ferrule can be removed to reveal a metal pointed spike.
Now read this carefully. This is the important bit.
There are thugs, rapists and muggers out there. Probably armed with a knife. Possibly on drugs and in desperate need of (your) cash. Many are ruthless and merciless. As we all know from the headlines.
If you are injured or elderly you NEED to be able to defend yourself. The police will take several minutes at the very least to get to you to help.
You cannot hope that if you scream or use an alarm anyone will come to your aid. Why should he get his throat cut trying to help you, a complete stranger? If he's got any sense he will stay well away and phone for the police.
Carrying a walking stick is perfectly legal. It makes a very effective weapon - when you know how to use it. And it is a most effective survival tool against a knife.
A youngster can wield a heavier stick. The less young cannot. Theirs must be lighter.
I am NEVER without my walking stick.
DO you know HOW to use it?
Do you know WHEN to use it?
Do you know what to do against that KNIFE?
If you hesitate it may be too late.
Be alert - NOW
Be prepared - NOW
Be Alive - NOW
John Roberts-James is Principal of the Alternative Therapy Clinic, a 4th Dan Black Belt and has written many effective and practical textbooks on using the Walking Stick for Personal Protection.