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Medical Walking Canes: What are my options?

Many people need medical walking canes at some point in their lives. For older adults, the right walking cane can mean increased mobility and stability and is a great option for fall prevention before you may need something more supportive like a rollator or walker. Whether the cane is something you’ll need on an ongoing basis, or you just need it for short term recovery, you’ll want to choose the right cane, so we’ve got you covered!

SkyBlue Tip: Before you purchase any mobility aid, make sure your home is ready and safe for you to get around. This means removing loose area rugs or mats, making sure your shoes are stable and ideally have a rubber sole for traction. Make sure you have slip free mats in your bathtub or shower. With or without a cane, if you are having any issues with free movement and stability when walking at home – take care of these first!

Standard Cane 
Standard canes usually have a rounded hook handle, a rubber foot and are height adjustable. Many of them are metal nowadays which is great for lightweight strength and stability but that can make them slippery and cold in the winter time. Make sure when you get your cane that you walk around with it, testing the comfort on and in your hand and that you get the height right to offer support and maintain good posture. Standard canes are also great for people with strong hands, but if your grip has weakened, you may want to look at an offset cane instead.

Offset Cane
Offset canes are great both because they require a bit less grip strength to use successfully and also because they can add a little extra support for balance. They are great midway point between a standard cane and a quad cane. The offset essentially means the handle looks different, sort of like a modified “L” instead of a hook that we’re used to seeing on a cane. They have the rubber foot, are adjustable in height and essentially are better for leaning, if that’s what you need. Many manufacturers have gone to a lot of trouble to make offset canes look just as good as their standard counterparts. If you find that you don’t have the hand strength to maneuver a standard cane, but you don’t need a quan cane, then an offset cane is probably the right choice for you!

Quad Cane 
In some cases, people need a little additional stability beyond the standard or offset canes, but they don’t yet need the full support of a walker or rollator. Quad canes have four small feet at the base of the cane, which offers a great stable foundation for users. Some folks may even heal on a continuum, using a quad cane to start and graduating to an offset cane, but the quad cane offers great benefits in the meantime. Quad canes are also height adjustable, lightweight and have rubber feet for good gripping. Another added bonus of the quad cane is that it can remain free standing. All too often, a can without the quad base can fall over inconveniently and get out of the reach of the user. Quad canes stay put, so can be ideal for helping people in and out of seating as well.

SkyBlue Tip: Remember, when standing up for the first time in a while, give yourself a moment to adjust. One of the times we are most prone to falling is right after we stand up after being seated for an extended time. Your blood pressure may drop suddenly, so giving yourself a moment to adjust and for your body to wake up, is always a good safety tip!

Hopefully this article has helped you decide which kind of cane may be best for your mobility support. We offer a full range of standard, offset and quad canes to make sure you have the stability you need for your daily life.