Canes or walking canes are just one of several devices available to assist in ambulation, or walking. Using a walking cane improves balance by increasing a person’s base of support. When used correctly, canes unload the leg opposite to the hand the cane is in by up to twenty five percent. There are several types of canes on the market today, each providing a slightly different amount of assistance.
The old style “hook” cane is one of the first canes on the market. Little thought about safety or comfort went into these canes. They are hard on the hands after extended use; however, you still see them in use today.
The off-set cane is a popular choice today. This cane features a restyled shaft that puts the soft hand grip slightly out of line with the handle. This design helps provide more stability and support with less hand and arm strain.
The “T” handle or “Derby” cane has a straight bar handle, formed on top of the shaft and shaped to fit the hand comfortably. These walking canes serve a dual purpose, which is support and comfort. They are likely to be chosen by anyone who wants to make fashion statement while reaping the benefits of a walking aid.
The anatomical handle (also called palm handle) is designed for more hand support and comfort than any other cane handle. It provides a large surface area to fit the palm which allows for more comfort and increased weight-bearing ability. This style works best for persons with carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritis. These handles are like shoes. The cane will only fit a particular side, either right or left hand, not both. Ask your doctor for help when choosing left or right.
The folding cane comes with a derby type handle in both hard plastic or soft foam. These canes are useful for travel. They can be stored away in luggage, tucked under your car seat or put any place where space is limited. They make a great spare cane.
The quad cane has a large or small rectangular base with four support legs. Each leg has a rubber tip that comes in contact with the floor. The base is designed with an inside (toward the body) and an outside (away from the body). They have an offset style handle. Quad canes are meant for persons who need more balance assistance than single base canes can provide, and strike a midway point between using a cane or a walker.
Most of these walking canes are made of lightweight aluminum or metal and are height adjustable. There are many accessories to assist in their comfort and usefulness, and they come in many different colors and finishes. You can also find replacement tips, handles and other parts as needed.
Because of their affordability, many people choose several canes at once so as to keep them conveniently located around the house and car.
Personally, I use a “T” handle cane with a green plaid design. What’s your favorite cane?