You are probably looking for a walking cane if you are suffering from arthritis, back pain, or any injury that affects your balance, which also includes recovering from a related surgery or stroke. But how do you know what type of cane best suits your needs? Did you even know that different types of canes are available? There are several variations of canes and cane handles that are each recommended for a different mobility demand. It is important to choose a cane that accommodates your need and improves stability. Be sure to consult a physician or physical therapist while deciding which cane is right for you.
Types of Canes
Like the name suggests, a single tip cane only has one point of support at the bottom and, therefore, is more suited for those with a minor need for a stability aid. Walking with this style cane is easy as it is unlikely to interrupt your natural stride. It is best suited for individuals who are suffering from arthritis or are trying to keep weight off an injury.
Quad canes are defined by their bases, which feature four supports that typically split into a square or rectangular shape at the bottom. This type of cane is recommended for individuals who rely on more support than most. It distributes weight more evenly across four points which also allows for a user to bear more weight on the cane with a reduced chance of slipping. These canes can stand upright on their own but may interfere with your natural stride.
Types of Handles
An offset handle forms an outward C-shape to distribute weight to the strongest part of the cane without straining the wrist.
A T-shaped, or derby, handle is one of the more supportive types of grip support for canes. The handle sits perpendicular to the cane shaft and is better suited for pressing straight down.
The traditional round, C-shaped, or crook handle, is notable for the ability to easily hook it onto doorknobs, furniture, or even one’s own arm. Its curved grip also enables a natural “swing” when walking.
It is important to make sure that your cane is perfectly suited to your height, since canes that are either too tall or too short will end up being both uncomfortable and unpractical. For this reason, consider an adjustable cane, since these canes can do all the work for you at the push of a button, rather than having to cut the cane yourself.
You might also want to give some thought as to what type of tip your cane should have. A cane tip usually determines the amount of traction that you get on certain surfaces.
- Rubber Tip: Rubber cane tips offer increased grip on a variety of surfaces, which is why they are typically the standard cane tip option. One downside is they can wear out with frequent use, so you may have to purchase a rubber replacement tip occasionally.
- Spiked Tip: Consider purchasing a cane with spikes on its tip for added traction in the wintertime as well as when used on soft or slippery surfaces.
- Quad Tip: Similar to the quad cane, quad tips have more than one prong (often 4-6) for added balance and the ability to stand upright on its own. Quad tips are often lower profile than quad canes and, therefore, won’t interfere much with your natural stride.
Storage is an important factor when it comes to being on-the-go. Therefore, canes that can collapse into sections for quick and easy storage is an important feature to consider when deciding what cane is right for you.
Wrist straps are a great accessory to have, as they eliminate the need to bend down to pick up a dropped cane and help to keep it at your side.
Material of the cane not only determines resistance to wear-and-tear and environmental conditions, but it also influences the ease of mobility for the user.
- Wood: Wood canes have historically been the more fashionable cane type for centuries, but since wood is more susceptible to the weather, water damage, and fracturing, depending on material (ash hickory, mahogany, etc.). Therefore, wood canes can become quite expensive as material quality increases.
- Metal: Metal canes are also a common occurrence and come in aluminum or other tempered metallic materials. The advantage with using a cane made of metal lies in its variability, for metal canes can come in foldable options or hybrid metal shaft and wooden grip options. Canes with lightweight metal shafts are easier to swing but also easier to dent.
Browse our collection of walking canes for a variety of options that are sure to meet your mobility need.