Quad Cane: What is it, and what’s it for?
A quad cane is a cane that has a base on the bottom with four small feet. Each foot will have a rubber cap to reduce slipping. Quad canes are made of lightweight aluminum, and can vary in weight and height.
The main reason to use a quad cane instead of a regular cane is that a quad cane provides better stability than a regular cane for some users. A quad cane is often prescribed for patients who have been using a wheeled walker, and can progress to a device with less support. It may be used for patients who use a wheeled walker, but need to go upstairs, and can’t do that with a walker. Quad canes are good choices for those who go outdoors and for those who walk on carpeting, cement or rough surfaces, and need support for balance and stability. Patients who have conditions, such as a stroke, which cause imbalance and weakness, or who have had hip replacement surgery often use quad canes as prescribed.
Quad canes have various weight limits for the user, though most are capable of handling between 300 and 500 pounds of resistance. Check the information from the cane’s manufacturer for specifications regarding weight limits. A four-legged cane can give support, stability and balance for the heavier patient.
There are two types of bases on quad canes: the wide base and the narrow base. A patient’s ability to lift and balance will determine which type is best for them. When a patient has significant problems with balance or strength, a wide base quad cane will probably be a better choice. The narrow base is helpful to patients who have fewer deficits with balance and strength.
Quad canes, like regular canes, can be adjusted for the height of the user. A physical therapist can help you determine the appropriate height for your cane. The cane’s height can be adjusted with a push button. It is important that you do not have to stoop over to use the cane when walking. The handle of a quad cane can be made to have an “anatomical fit” to the palm of the right or left hand, if that would be helpful to the patient.
To use a quad cane, the patient should be able to lift the cane off the floor and place it with all four feet firmly on the floor. The patient should be instructed to hold the cane in one hand. If one leg is weak, hold the cane in the hand opposite the weak leg. It would be beneficial for the patient to practice walking under the guidance of a physician or therapist when he first uses the cane just to be sure that his technique provides balance and support that is needed.
A quad cane may help improve your mobility and independence. Be sure to ask your physical therapist or physician about their recommendation for a cane and for assistance in learning to use one.
It’s just one more device that Caregiver-Aid provides to help you stay safe and healthy at home!
Laufer, Y. (2003). The effect of walking aids on balance and weight-bearing patterns of patients with hemiparesis in various stance positions. Physical Therapy. 83(2) 112-122.
O’Sullivan, S. B. (1994). Physical rehabilitation: assessment and treatment. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis & Company.