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Issue 36 Synovium (Summer 2012)
This eye-catching little study should probably have been performed long ago. Given the widespread use of the walking stick we need to know that there is evidence that it is actually helpful rather than simply being perceived to be so. The study randomised 64 patients with knee osteoarthritis to use of a single walking stick for 2 months or no stick use. Outcome measures were a pain score, 2 measures of function, a general health measure, and energy expenditure during a 6-minute walking test. Use of a walking stick was associated with reduced pain, improved function, improvement in some aspects of general health, and increased walking distance with reduced energy expenditure during walking compared with the control group. No adverse effects of stick use were reported!
1. A Jones; Silva PG, Silva AC et al. Impact of cane use on pain, function, general health and energy expenditure during gait in patients with knee osteoarthritis: a randomised controlled trial. Ann Rheum Dis 2012 Feb;71(2):172-9.