Why do we use a cane and what types of canes are there?

Cane tip, single point cane, mini quad cane, wide base quad cane. 

Cane tip, single point cane, mini quad cane, wide base quad cane. 

1)    Why do we use a cane?

A cane is used to assist with walking or standing, when our legs are compromised in some way, such as with a fracture or a stroke. It allows us to use our arms to help take the weight that would normally go through our leg. 

2)    Types of canes.

·      Single Point Cane (SPC)

These can be metal or wood. The benefit of the metal cane is it can be adjusted up or down to the correct height, whereas wood can only be cut down.

·      Quad cane. (Four legs)

These are used when more support is needed; perhaps balance is compromise as well. There are different sized bases, with the bigger base providing more stability. The down side of having a bigger base is it can catch in narrow spaces/doorways, and cannot be used safely on slopes or uneven ground.

·      Tripod. (Three legs)

This is used for more support, as for a quad cane above, but less stable.

Other considerations

·      Make sure the cane tip is not worn down and has some traction when you weight bear through it.

·      Be sure to buy a cane with a comfortable handle for you so that your hand doesn’t get sore while you are using it.

See http://www.walkingaidreview.com  for more detailed information

In my next blogs, I will talk about how to measure and adjust the height of a cane, and how to walk with your cane.

R. Sian Owen

Registered Physiotherapist