Mobility aid review: Tornado Rain Tip crutch tip

As I was saying, I’ve been doing a fair bit of long walking. That means my forearm crutch as well as my body is getting some more wear. So in addition to modifying my grip with the Bionic arthritis glove, I modified the crutch with a Tornado Rain Tip. (This is where one-handedness is handy; the tips are sold in pairs, and so I have a spare.) I did this for two reasons: shock absorbency and tread. It was a good investment: the Millennial and the Tornado complement each other nicely.

The spring in the bottom of the crutch already dampens impact very well, but a little more protection can’t hurt; this is particularly true when I try to walk too quickly and/or stumble. I tense up worse and mismatch the rhythm between my arm and my gait, which can be jarring; the sidewalks around my apartment are shattered or bridged with board in places, and occasionally I misjudge the placement of my foot or stick. The big selling point of Tornado crutch tips is that they’re lined with gel to dampen the impact against the ground. They also flex to keep more contact with the ground. The Rain Tip is thick and has a wafer of ripple tread bonded to the bottom, like a slight boot sole. It’s holding up well, even while scuffed from tripping or skidding.

I can feel the tip flex a little as the crutch touches the ground; it’s possibly something like a heel-to-toe motion, with a bit of emphasis on the toe. In dry weather, the tread handles pavement and nubby concrete well. On wet pavement, the tread prevents me from slipping; I can actually feel it grip the ground. Wet floors are trickier, though still less slippery than they would otherwise be. The floor coming into where I work is marble, which might have something to do with it. The tile in my kitchen isn’t too bad; I haven’t fallen, at least.  (And the tips do come with a caution that they’re fall-resistant, not fall-proof; life happens. But I like that caution better than ones that pretend the whole world is a level dry surface and PWD leave that imaginary place at their own risk.)

The Tornado allows the spring in the crutch to work better, I think. Since the tip is consistently in contact with the ground, I can apply consistent force to the crutch, which allows the spring to engage more. This is particularly evident — and useful — on ramps and curb cuts. There is a very steep cut going up on the way home. I need the spring to help me get my legs over it, and in order to do that I need ground contact. Perfect.

Pain and fatigue aside, I actually thought the other day that it’s a shame I have to be careful. Walking with the crutch seems to mitigate the spasticity in my legs, I think because I’m forced to measure my stride. It’s not gone, obviously, but they don’t seem to tense up so much with the stick. Maybe the stick lulls them — the stick has a more relaxed step than either of my legs ever did. I swing my right arm, and it’s like feeling another leg move through my hand. The spring goes down gently, the tip flexes, and when the spring comes up, it seems to nudge my right leg into the next step. On a good surface, there’s almost a rocking rhythm. Walking still wears me out, but not so quickly as it otherwise might.

I don’t think the Tornado alone would be enough shock absorption for me personally, which is why I say that the Tornado and the Millennial complement each other. The “subtitle” of the Millennial forearm crutch is In Motion, and accordingly, the main force behind my ability to walk somewhat longer comes from the ergonomics of the crutch itself. Without both the angled grip and the heavier impact absorption of the spring, I couldn’t use a stick much at all even if it had a Tornado on it. However, the Tornado does certainly augment that motion, and I think I’ll stick with it. (Pardon the unintentional pun.)

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8 Responses to Mobility aid review: Tornado Rain Tip crutch tip

  1. Elisabeth says:

    Ooh, thanks! The standard tip on my cane leaves a lot to be desired- this could be a big help on days when I need to use my cane for long periods of time (and might cushion wear on my shoulders a bit).

  2. hand2mouth says:

    Welcome. : -) It’s definitely an improvement over the tip that came with my stick. A question: if you prefer canes, would something like the Quest cane be useful? In terms of cushioning, that and a Tornado might be a really good combination. (Apologies if you already have one.)

  3. Elisabeth says:

    I’ve seen it online but haven’t had a chance to handle one yet- I really like the molded foam, but I’m not quite ready to buy it sight unseen. I’m currently going through one of those ridiculous fits of denial: I don’t *need* a quad cane or a handicap sticker or my car. I don’t use a cane *that* often. Etc. It took a fall to finally convince me that I really need a wrist strap all the time.

  4. hand2mouth says:

    *nods* Yeah… I know the feeling.

  5. Elisabeth says:

    Btw- have you used a Quest or know anyone who has? I’ve seen some mixed reviews lately (I just ordered the Tornado rain tips! We’re getting to the rainy season here and I wished I had them on Tuesday when I slipped on a wet floor!)

  6. hand2mouth says:

    I haven’t; I remember considering it, but shortly after that I had to stop using a cane. If you mean the Buzzillions reviews, those are pretty mixed (though a couple appear to be from the same person). It’s hard to know whether the negatives are flukes or a pattern. It’s doubly hard because it seems to be the only cane with that feature besides hiking sticks, so there’s not much in the way of choice. There used to be a Cushion Walk cane that was offset and had a spring, but I can’t find anything current about it even though it’s still in Abledata; the stores that used to sell it don’t list it now. It might not be produced anymore. I do hope the Tornado works out for you, though! You didn’t hurt yourself, I hope.

  7. Elisabeth says:

    I saw those reviews and took them with a grain of sale (two were def. the same person) but since I couldn’t find m(any) other reviews I’ll keep asking about. I did find this one from WanderFreund that might be promising: http://www.shermanoaksmedical.com/Leki_Wanderfreund_Antishock_p/4-704.htm It isn’t offset, but I haven’t used an offset cane yet so I don’t know how much of difference/improvement it might be.

    By the way, no injury from the slip on the wet floor, but unfortunately I had a slip in the tub and strained my hip last night. I didn’t fall but I’m sore all over- just one of those stupid things that happens sometimes. I am slowly coming to terms with the fact than I need to have a cane on hand when I’m about the house as well, which makes having a second cane more desirable.

  8. hand2mouth says:

    Ouch. *grimaces* A second cane can’t hurt; I hope you can find a good one.

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