Canes are one of the most accessible and widely used mobility products available. They’re excellent options for people coping with injury, chronic conditions that affect their walking, and for the elderly. If you find yourself in a situation where you’re in need of a cane, you may be tempted to head to the drugstore and just get something cheap. But the wrong cane (or a poor quality one) can actually further hamper your mobility instead of help it.
So, how do you choose between the wide variety of canes on the market and make sure you’re getting one that best fits your needs? Don’t worry, we’ve put together a guide to choosing and using the right one!
Different Types of Canes
First things first, you’ll need to understand the different types of canes available to you in order to choose the right one. These are the four main designs you’ll come across:
The C cane is a straight, single tip cane with a C-shaped handle. This is the most basic model. It is an ideal choice if you only need minor assistance with balance or to keep your weight off of one leg.
Functional Grip Cane
Like a C cane, a functional grip cane is straight with a single tip. The difference is in the handle, which is straight instead of curved. This handle offers a better, more natural grip, as well as more control and support than you’ll get with a C cane. It’s a good fit for those who need moderate support to improve balance and distribute weight.
The offset cane is essentially the same as a functional grip cane, except the handle curves back at the top and then straightens out. This shape helps to center your weight on the strongest part of the cane for greater stability. Your hand rests on the straight grip, just like with the functional grip cane.
As the name would imply, a quad cane has four tips of support at the bottom to create a rectangular base. This model offers the greatest amount of stability, support, and balance out of all the primary types of canes.
Sizing Your Cane
Once you know what type of cane you need, you must find the right size for your height to ensure you’re getting the most balance and support out of it. If your cane is too long, it will be more difficult to pick up and move as you’re walking. If it’s too short, you’ll end up leaning more to that side and making your balance even worse.
To determine the proper cane length for your height, stand up straight with your arms at your sides while wearing your shoes. Hold the cane in the hand on the opposite side of your injury, i.e., if your left leg is injured, hold the cane in your right hand. The top of the cane should come to the crease of your wrist, leaving your elbow bent at 15-20 degrees. It’s a good idea to consult your doctor or physical therapist to help you measure what size cane you need.
A Few Tips for Using Your Cane
- Tip #1: On flat surfaces, move your cane simultaneously with your injured side. Leave the cane in place as you bring your uninjured side forward.
- Tip #2: To go upstairs, step up with your stronger leg first while holding the railing. Then, bring up your injured side and cane at the same time.
- Tip #3: To go downstairs, place your cane on the lower step first. Next, bring down your injured leg. Finally, bring down your strong leg, which should be bearing your body weight.
- Tip #4: Don’t forget to regularly inspect the tip(s) of your cane for wear. If any tip looks worn, replace it promptly so that your traction is not affected and you’re not at greater risk for a fall.
If you’re looking for an affordable cane with quality you can trust, BEK Medical has you covered. We offer a selection of canes in various styles, cane accessories, and other mobility products to help keep you moving and independent.
Shop our home mobility products online or head over to one of our stores and one of our friendly associates will help you find exactly what you need!