There are many reasons a cane or walking stick may be a necessary addition to your wardrobe, but it doesn't have to signal the end of style. Gentlemen of the 18th and 19th Centuries carried them with grace, and anyone who's seen Jason Isaacs in any of the earlier Harry Potter movies knows that canes (with or without hidden weapons) only add a certain je ne sais quoi. In fact, a lot of people who don't need canes choose to carry them just for the aesthetic aspect. The important thing to remember is that you don't have to settle for the first metal bodied, rubber tipped number that comes your way.
What to Consider When Buying a Cane
A cane won't do you any good if it only makes your condition worse, so make sure that a cane is right for your body before buying, no matter how chic it is. Some things to consider: the height of the cane, the shape of the handle and the tread. A cane used to aid walking should be at a natural height. Ideally, the cane should reach the height of the user's hand when the user is standing as straight as possible with arms relaxed against sides. To get a numerical measurement of this height, it is best to have a second person measure the distance from floor to hand.
The shape of a handle is more important than might be thought at first, but if you are going to be leaning a great deal of weight onto the cane through the palm of your hand, you want it to be shaped well to remain comfortable. If you can, give the cane a trial run and avoid anything that presses against the bones of your wrist.
A cane can't help you much if its tread is no good. Check to see what kind of material the tip is made of. The sturdiest canes have a wider tip, preferably in rubber. This will not slip. If you are buying a cane for purely aesthetic reasons, the tip may not be so important, but just remember to be aware that you can't really count on it.
Where to Buy a Cane
Ask your physician for a recommendation for stores near you that sell good quality canes. Otherwise, there are many options online for buying canes and walking sticks. Fashionablecanes.com has a wide selection of practical canes for both men and women with great information about sizing, walking with a cane, caring for a cane and more. You can even buy a replica of Dr. House's cane from this site.
Houseofcanes.com is another great site with both men's and women's canes. They also have helpful information and tips, and it is possible to buy custom-made canes as well as fiberglass ones, which are sure to be strong and lightweight.
Yeoldecaneshoppe.com is a site for beautifully crafted canes and walking sticks for those with an old-fashioned bent. They have many, many different styles available and are both "fashion statements and walking aids."