Canes Buying Guide: How to Choose a Walking Cane
* Starting price as of 11/1/18
Walking canes are the lightest and least cumbersome of all mobility aids. They provide balance but should not be used for weight bearing. In other words, canes are not made to be heavily leaned on, and if a patient requires a mobility aid that provides weight support, a walking cane is not recommended.
In order to receive the full benefit of an assistive cane, it is important to receive training in its proper use.
Canes are generally used by unsteady but independent walkers for balance support.
|Prevents loss of balance||Not weight bearing|
|Lightweight and portable||One-sided support|
Safety Tip #1: Hold the walking cane on the side that is stronger to compensate for the weakness of the opposite side.
Safety Tip #2: When using a quad cane, be sure to touch all points of the cane to the ground. Although this may slow you down, it is required for your safety.
There are many different types of canes available, with each providing various benefits. The following are some of the main types of canes on the market today as well as their functions and features.
Single point Canes
Single point canes have a single support point at its end and are the most common type of walking cane.
Quad canes, tripod canes and other multiple-point canes, on the other hand, have several points that touch the ground and are stand-alone to provide more stable support for individuals who require more assistance with balancing. Of all cane types, quad canes (also known as 4-prong canes) offer the highest level of support.
When purchasing a quad cane, you can choose either a wide base quad cane or a small base quad cane. The large base quad cane is helpful for those who need the extra stability that its wider area of support provides.
Folding canes are designed to fold and become compact enough to store easily in a handbag. Most collapsible canes are height adjustable and this type of cane may be ideal for those who want the option of being able to conveniently store their canes when not in use.
Seat canes are sturdy medical-grade walking canes with seats that can be unfolded whenever the user needs to take a break and sit down.
Cane Handle Types
When choosing a cane, it is important to consider what type of handle is most suited for your needs. In order to determine this, you’ll need to factor in two things: (1) the shape of the handle and (2) the type of grip the handle is designed with.
1. Handle Shape
When choosing a cane handle shape, you should consider the following options:
Crook CaneThe rounded handle of this standard cane allows users plenty of space to find the most comfortable position for use, as well as making it easy to hook over the arm or other places, which is especially convenient when opening doors. Other common names for the crook handle cane include shepherd’s crook walking stick and tourist handle cane.
T-handle caneAlso known as straight-handle canes, these canes are ideal for users who have weakness in their hand, as they are designed to reduce stress and hand fatigue.
Fritz handle canes are similar to T-handle canes, but the extra curve is designed to provide better comfort for users and remove pressure to the hand and fingers, making it an ideal choice for users who suffer from arthritis. Many people prefer the fritz cane for its classic, distinguished style. When comparing the different types of handles available, the fritz handle cane ranks highest for both popularity and comfort.
Offset caneOffset handle canes are shaped like a question mark, with the area just under the handle jutting out slightly. This helps distribute the user’s weight over the cane shaft (or the body of the cane), making them more comfortable for use. Although offset handles are not unique to quad canes, nearly all quad canes available today are designed with this type of handle.
2. Handle Grip
The next thing to consider is the type of grip the handle of your cane should have.
Soft and comfortable
Reduce hand stress and fatigue
Ideal for arthritis and joint pain
Designed to fit the hand
Cane Tip Types
Although the tip of your walking cane may seem small and insignificant, cane tips that have become worn or torn are dangerous. Fortunately, it is easy and inexpensive to replace this part of your cane, so be sure to do it regularly for your safety or that of your loved one.
When selecting replacement cane tips, the first thing you’ll need to know is the measurements of the bottom of your cane and find a cane tip size to match. This will usually be somewhere between .5” and 1”, including 5/8”, ¾” and 7/8”. Once you know which of the above measurements you need, the next step will be to choose the type of cane tip you prefer.
Rubber Cane Tips
The most common cane tip type is the basic, rubber cane tip which provides great traction and often includes a steel insert for increased durability.
Another type of cane tip available is the tripod or quad cane tip, which is attached to a single tip on the cane but ends with three or four prongs. This design offers increased traction, stability and weight capacity, and allows the walking cane to stand upright on its own. Some cane users prefer using these self standing cane tips instead of the bulkier quad cane.
Today, it is possible to find walking canes for sale at prices as low as $10. If you’re looking for a cane for medical purposes (i.e. support rather than style), you don’t need to spend more than $45, although antique and custom designed walking canes and walking sticks can be a lot more costly.
Cane Sizing: Medical canes are always height adjustable so you can get the perfect fit. As with all mobility aids, using an improperly fitted cane or misusing a cane may cause back, shoulder or arm pain, so it’s very important to learn how to ensure a good fit and how to use a cane safely. For all this and more, check out our blog post on Buying a Cane: Sizing Tips & More.
Cool Canes: Gadget canes, also known as system canes, are canes that have more than one function. Check out some of the coolest system canes available for sale here: 10 Amazing Gadget Canes.
More Mobility Aid Guides: To learn more about the other types of mobility aids available, read more at the links provided below.
At AvaCare Medical, we’re here to help you find a walking cane that works for your needs.
If you’re still confused about your options, give us a call today at 1-877-813-7799.
Disclaimer: No information presented on this website is medical advice or intended as a substitute for the advice of a physician. All information on this website concerning medical conditions is from publicly available sources.