I was able to feel the contour of the ground with great accuracy. It gave me the confidence to maintain a good walking pace on a trail I’d never set foot on.
Josh and his Orientation and Mobility Specialist Jodi, recently embarked on an adventure to trial some cane tips on rough terrain.
Josh is a white cane user, and shared his experience of their walk around the Cataract Gorge.
“I started out using the jumbo tip on my own personal Bevria cane. Initially, the tip felt great! A lot less resistance than my Supaball cane tip, however, it was getting caught a lot. By the time we had reached the entrance to the Gorge I decided to swap it out knowing the terrain was only going to get rougher.
Next up was the Omni-Sense roller tip, also on my own personal Bevria cane. Initially it felt a little heavy and stiff, however, it really started to stand out as the cracks, bumps and lips on the path started to increase. After leaving the sealed path for dirt and gravel, I barely noticed the difference. It was still giving great feedback and I could feel the difference in terrain easily, as it still rolled along effortlessly.
When we reached the Duck Reach trail the terrain started to get steeper and rougher, and at this point the tip really started to shine. The feedback from the unpredictable terrain was amazing! I was able to feel the contour of the ground with great accuracy. It gave me the confidence to maintain a good walking pace on a trail I’d never set foot on. The trail only got steeper and rougher as we headed to our destination, but the Omni-Sense held its own on the rocks, holes, erosion mounds, stairs and hills.
After having a quick look around the old power station, a drink and a bite to eat, we set out for home. I was now using a no job cane and Rover free wheel tip combination. Initially, the wheel felt quite good! It rolled over the rough terrain with ease. Not quite as much feedback as the Omni, but still great in the rough terrain. It wasn’t too far into our return journey before my arm was getting sore trying to keep it on track, and I found I had to keep a very tight grip on the cane in order to stop it wandering. Even then it was unavoidable on the rocks and slopes.
I switched to the No-Jab cane and Omni-Sense roller combination. Initially, it was a little different as the No-Jab cane takes the very fine vibrations out of the feedback from the tip. I quickly discovered this was a good thing, as it did not affect the feedback in any other way. The absorption spring action from the cane worked in perfect combination with the Omni-Sense. On the few occasions the tip did get caught, the spring would compress and push the tip off the obstacle. It didn’t require any real action from me. It would kind of unstick itself.
I am not a traditional cane user and tend not to arc my cane very often. I am a constant contact user and typically hold the cane still in front of me with the handle off to one side.
Traditional cane users might find the Omni-Sense more resistant than the other tips in rough terrain. It is still very easy to arc on smooth terrain though. The benefit would be that it doesn’t catch anywhere near as much as other tips. It offers low resistance and outstanding feedback on rough terrain. My favourite thing about this tip is the noise! I love the fact other people around me can hear me coming.”
If you use a long cane and would like to trial a different tip or try navigating a new environment or terrain, please chat to your Orientation and Mobility Specialist.
If you have concerns about your vision (or the vision of someone you know) and would like to talk to one our specialists, please get in touch with our Client Experience Team by calling (03) 6232 1222 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org