Strongarm cane review: OW!

So I’m back, I think — my health went to hell for a bit, off and on. There are times the weakness or stiffness is bad enough that I feel weird even moving around my apartment, but it seemed like too much trouble sometimes to keep the forearm crutch handy and put it on just to go across the room or down to my mailbox or something. I considered having a cane lying around just for light home use, but I can’t use a standard one. I tried; got the old black offset cane out of the closet and just NO. I decided to try a Strongarm cane, which is advertised as a cross between a cane and (open cuff) forearm crutch. I boxed it up for return almost immediately, though; it was unusable for me even lightly or temporarily.

I say “cane” rather than “crutch” or “stick” because the forearm support isn’t even an open cuff. Rather, it’s just another bend in the cane, so that the whole thing is basically an offset cane with a broad curve at the top. The Standard, or Slim, model has a 3″ opening, which doesn’t seem to curve around the forearm. Rather, as far as I can tell, part of the back or side of your arm just rests against part of the curve.

But — and maybe I don’t get the point of open cuffs, or I’m too bony or weak or something — that meant the cane didn’t move with me. It moved away from me, which felt really unstable. If I stepped forward with my arm, as I do with my stick, my arm lifted away from the support, which made it awkward to swing. I had to guide it with my hand only, and since my arm was away from the support, there was extra metal dangling until my step touched down. That made my swing waver, which meant that I couldn’t place the tip securely upon touching down. When the step completed, my arm did press back down against the tube, but the effect was lessened by the wobble in the cane’s landing. Also, the pressure of my bone against the tube was very uncomfortable, despite the bit of foam padding; it was a rather hard, narrow point of contact.

There were a few times I could get the cane to stay closer to my arm as I walked (staggered?), which felt a little bit more supportive, but it required more tension and concentration than it was worth. I couldn’t relax my arm into a step; I had to hold my forearm stiff and grip the handle tightly as I moved my arm forward — it felt like from the shoulder. The handle is the same hard foam cylinder as on any offset cane, and not angled as I had mistakenly thought from some of the pictures. When they called the grip ergonomic, I think they must have meant it in the UK sense, despite being based in the US. After a few minutes, my fingers were fizzing quite hard, bordering on numb, and some finger joints got sharp. There was a pinching feeling in the cleft at the bottom of my palm and mild burning at the side of my wrist; I think it woke up the occasionally subluxating tendon.

I don’t know; maybe if you don’t have hand problems or if you have more forearm flesh, the Strongarm would be a fine cane. It’s certainly interesting-looking, I’ll give it that. But it requires too much exertion for me, and I don’t want to lean on something that hurts and/or is likely to throw me off. My crutch fits like part of my arm once it’s padded, in comparison. After this, I’ll gladly wear it across the room as well as outside or anywhere else.

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4 Responses to Strongarm cane review: OW!

  1. Elisabeth says:

    I can’t say it enough: thanks so much for you detailed reviews! As the cubital tunnel in my elbows waxes and wanes I am having more and more trouble with a standard cane and am looking for options that support without requiring as much pressure/control from my hands. It sounds like this cane is not what I assumed, either, which is a shame.

  2. hand2mouth says:

    You’re welcome. 🙂 I wish there were more options, though — you’d think ergonomics would be kicking in more/sooner with these things. (Or at least I’d think, because I am impatient.) 🙂 Had you had any luck with the hiking stick?

  3. hand2mouth says:

    (Though if you’re still looking, perhaps that means not. Duh, sorry. Get some caffeine, Handy…)

  4. Elisabeth says:

    Lol- no worries. I’m leaning toward some Lightweight Forearm Crutches. Hopefully that will give me support without aggravating my shoulders or elbows too much, but with the cubital I really won’t know until I try them out. Right now I’m having issues with my elbow splints triggering flares if they’re not exactly right, and if they shift while sleeping… eh, it’s an ongoing progress. I’m going to ahve to hit a few medical supplies to see if I can do a walking test in-store. I’ll let you know how it goes!

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