Canes are the least cumbersome and lightest of all mobility aids available to assist with walking. They can help distribute the weight from a leg that is weaker or painful, provide tactile information about the ground, and improve balance and stability by providing a support base. Compared to other assistance devices, canes aren’t meant to be heavily leaned on or to bear so much weight. They give more support to one side of the body, usually the stronger side to compensate for the weakness of the other side.
Depending on your intended use, the base of the cane plays a vital role in providing stability and support. Standard canes, also called single-tip canes, are those with only one tip or base that touches the ground. Quad canes, or quad-point canes, are built to be a sturdier counterpart. With standard canes, they help more with agility and giving information about what surfaces you are walking on and are ideal for those who are visually impaired but have a good sense of balance. On the other hand, quad canes provide more stability because of its base.
Types of Cane Handles and Grips
Apart from the base of the cane, it is important to consider the type of handle that is the most suitable for your needs. Two factors that will help you determine this is the type of grip the specific handle is designed with the shape of the handle.
For grips, there are typically 4 types and each type gives a slightly different benefit from the others. Foam grips are a popular option and are soft and comfortable to hold. If you want to reduce hand stress and fatigue, gel grips are a great option. For arthritis and joint pain, having large grips is a recommended option. Lastly, orthopedic grips give a more contoured and fitted feel to the hand giving them an ergonomic feel.
The types of cane handles are the following:
When we think of canes in old movies, the crook cane, or tourist handle cane, is the usual cane handle we associate with it. Its rounded handle allows the user to comfortably find a position for use given its space. It also makes it easy to hook over the arm or other parts of the body, which makes it more convenient to bring around and use for small tasks such as pulling doors open.
Fritz cane handles are one of the most popular handle types right now because of its classic and distinguished style. It features an ergonomic curve that alleviates a lot of the pressure and tension typically felt in the hands and fingers from prolonged cane use. This type is ideal for people who suffer from arthritis.
Similar to fritz canes, t-handle canes, also known as straight-handle canes, are made for people who feel weakness in their hands. This type of cane handle is designed to reduce hand fatigue and reduce stress.
Offset handle canes feature a curved shape, reminiscent of a question mark with the area under it slightly jutting out. This handle helps distribute a lot of the user’s weight over the body of the cane, or the shaft, making it very comfortable to use to assist while performing everyday tasks. A majority of the quad canes that are available now are designed with an offset handle type.
These are things to bear in mind when you are out shopping for your next cane so that you can be certain that it will keep you safe for a long time to come. As an affordable, versatile, and lightweight walking aid, canes are a good device to carry around if you are only in need of stability and just a bit of support.