I have had a good number of people ask that I review some smart walking stick for Parkinson’s patients. For some times, I did not comprehend what that really meant. I had not heard of a special smart walking stick that could be used by people with PD. It was until my partner Kevin James told me that there are some special laser projecting canes that are said to help reduce gait freezing.
There is also this smart cane that detects when one is frozen and initializes some vibratory stimulations to your arm so that you are able to continue moving on. The product that is being developed by Neha Shahid Chaudhry is not yet available globally but people in the UK have an early lead to try it out.
The laser canes though are available.
Well, in this article, I will expound on whether these laser canes do indeed reduce gait freezing and whether they are any good so that you can go ahead and buy one for yourself or for a PD patient under your care.
Do laser canes reduce freezing?
Laser canes do not in any way reduce gait freezing to a Parkinson’s patient. In fact research has shown that there is no hand-held device that would reduce gait freezing. They will actually slow down the patient more.
However, the laser light from these devices can help cue the patient on where else to make their next step.
Parkinson’s disease is a neurological condition that progresses with time. It gets to a point where the patient wants to move but there is a delay from the CNS to the foot. With a visual cue like a laser light though, the message is driven home.
Therefore the patient is reminded of what they were doing before they froze.
Other cues that have been tested and found great include audio. A patient could have some periodic sound tones playing in resonance to their steps. With these tones, even when they freeze, the mind is reminded of what it was doing and goes back to the initial rhythm so that they freeze less.
The Laser Walking Cane for Parkinson’s Patients
- Height adjustable from 5 feet to 6 feet
- Lightweight weighing only 3 lbs
- Only needs 2AA batteries that could last for upto 6 months
- Produces a bright visual cue
It is important to note that laser canes are not the best walking aids for Parkinson’s disease. They might however be the cheapest aid.
According to research, the best aid would have to be a Parkinson’s wheeled walker. We found the u step 4 wheeled walker to give the best walking experience with lowered chances of falling due to a lowered base plus it can negotiate through thin and tight corners.