Falls of all kinds dramatically increase when the weather turns cold & icy. Anyone, regardless of age or athletic ability, is subject to falling on a slippery surface, especially when it is not seen or expected.
When walking normally, we have one foot on the ground which is fine where footing and lighting are good. However, if our one foot on the ground loses grip due to ice or any slick surface there is little recourse other than to suffer the full effect of gravity. The consequences can range from a bum knee or sore tush to death. Over the past decade, death from fall related incidents increased 31%, with 18,000 reported deaths due to falls in 2007, jumping to 30,000 in 2016.
According to the CDC, “Deaths from unintentional injuries are the seventh leading cause of death among older adults, and falls account for the largest percentage of those deaths. Approximately one in four U.S. residents aged 65 years (or older) report falling each year.”
The best way to avoid falls when walking is to maintain more than one point of contact on the ground. Using a stick or walking cane provides a third point of contact as you walk. Any avid hiker will tell you that using a hiking stick improves their stamina to walk further, but also provides a third point of contact preventing a fall as uneven terrain, loose or slippery rocks, roots, stumps and fallen trees are inevitable encounters on the trail.
Not all canes and walking sticks are the same and some perform significantly better than others, especially when navigating uneven, slippery & precarious surfaces. Traditional single-point-canes can actually be treacherous on slick surfaces as they make initial contact with the edge of the tip and with little to no grip providing a false sense of security. Clumsy four-legged 'quad canes' are actually worse, contributing to increased fall rates because they wobble as you walk with only one leg in contact with the ground much of the time.
We introduced our FlexSTICK several years ago and our customers informed us as to how well it performed in ice & snow. FlexSTICK has three shock-absorbing legs, each expanding & contracting adjusting constantly to changing terrain and the tilting angle of the cane. With FlexSTICK, you are not just adding one point of contact, you are adding three points that grip the ground like a grappling hook. Watch the below video to see how it works on icy surfaces.
Not only does the FlexSTICK provide significantly improved stability, it also cushions your hand, wrist, shoulder & back from the rigid and repetitive impact of the cane striking the ground. FlexSTICK also provides another great benefit as it is a true free standing cane.
“My FlexSTICK stays upright even on carpet, grass, gravel, etc... They're great for traction on hills, ice, you name it. BUY ONE!”
Brian Anthony –Catasauqua, PA
Last year, we introduced our FlexTIP that replaces plain, regular tips on standard 3/4" diameter canes. FlexTIP provides a shock-absorbing ankle function to most any cane allowing it to bend thru more than 120˚ in any direction. A 'Lazy-Susan' design allows the handle to smoothly rotate while the tip remains firm on the ground surface. The TLC model provides three separate points of contact on the ground, similar to the FlexSTICK and has a 5" tip-to-tip footprint and is a true 'free-standing' cane.
FlexTIP-Mini tripod has a flexible rubber tip with a 3" tip-to-tip footprint, providing more comfort as the tip is a one-piece flexible rubber base. The ends of the tripod bend, like 'toes' to provide extra grip & comfort.
CONFUSED? Here's how we rate them...
- FlexSTICK - Best Stability - Recommended for balance compromised folks. Negative? Some people do not like the 5" long legs on the base.
- FlexTIP-TLC -Good Stability. Same base size as FlexSTICK with low-profile, short tips.
- FlexTIP-Mini - Best Comfort and best choice for people with rather good mobility and those who walk longer distances.
"I am really thankful for my FlexTIP-Mini cane, especially in the snow as it saved me from slipping and falling just this morning!"
R. Maxwell - Eden Prairie, MN