There are different types of walking canes for seniors on the market. The main benefit of walking canes is to provide balance, support to the body of the user and comfort while preventing accidents, slips, trips and and falls. For maximum safety and optimal function, it is necessary to choose the right cane for a specific need.
The suitability of each type of cane is based on its function to address varying needs or different injuries or medical conditions. Most canes have a weight bearing capacity between 250 lbs and 300 lbs. Bariatric canes accommodate people who weigh more than average and have a weight bearing capacity up to 500 lbs.
Traditional Crook Canes
These traditional (standard) canes are one of the most popular type of canes. The common ones are designed from wood. Crook canes are commonly used as assistive devices to alleviate pain that may be associated with walking or standing. These canes have a slightly curved handle and are very durable. They are often used to assist users with balance and are good to hang over a forearm, chair back or even on a pants pocket
The curved handle is what makes this walking cane unique. It allows the user to grip the cane in a more relaxed manner so that the hands do not cramp up because of gripping the cane too tightly over extended use.
Standard Aluminum Canes
This cane is similar in design to the traditional crook cane, but the shaft is made of aluminum alloy material and the handle is more curved, making it easy to carry around. It provides stable help for walking and is useful for outdoor activities.
Aluminum canes are lightweight, strong, sturdy, and easy to grip, reducing hand fatigue and relieving pressure on the wrist. Most aluminum canes typically have a weight bearing capacity of up to 250 lbs.
Orthopedic Grip Canes
Walking canes put increased weight onto the user’s wrist which can over time, can cause a variety of medical conditions. Orthopedic walking canes provide extreme comfort for those that would prefer the ultimate support and comfort while navigating different terrain.
The main feature of this walking cane is the orthopedic grip which helps to relieve pressure placed on the wrist by evenly distributing it across the palm. For those with certain medical issues or arthritic condition, the hand grip handle of orthopedic canes makes walking easier.
An offset cane handle has a more ergonomic grip than a standard crook handle. This is a good walking cane for individuals who require the cane to bear their weight. If you have an injury or do not want to put pressure on one leg, then is a good cane for you. This cane is also great for those who do not have a lot of strength in their wrists.
This is because the cane does not need to be gripped too tightly. The handle shape which looks like a “seven” turned backwards centers and distributes weight over the length of the cane. With the weight centered, pressure is taken off the hand and wrist.
The padded handle also help to reduce the strain on the wrist and provide a comfortable grip.
A quad cane is like a standard cane, but it has a base with four small feet extending beneath it that make it more stable. It can handle more weight bearing and provides enhanced support and stability especially when climbing stairs and when trying to sit or stand. The cane is self-standing and can be bought with a small or a large base.
The quad cane is helpful for those who suffer from stroke, vertigo, partial paralysis, hemiplegia, or those who are recovering from hip or knee replacement surgery
A tripod cane, also called a 3-prong cane, operates like a quad cane, but it only has three legs on a triangular base.
It has a wider base, but is not wide enough to cause a tripping hazard. The tripod cane provides more stability than a standard cane. This cane design is good for people with an active lifestyle that includes walking over various outdoor and indoor terrain.
While the major types have been discussed, there are other canes designs that derive from these types based on the following:
Bariatric Canes – Walking Canes for Seniors
All canes have a maximum weight bearing capacity
The suitability of each type of cane is based on its function for varying needs or different injuries or medical conditions. Most canes have a weight bearing capacity between 250 lbs and 300 lbs.
Bariatric canes accommodate people who weigh more than average and have a weight bearing capacity up to 500 lbs. It is essential that overweight individuals ensure that they purchase a bariatric model in whichever cane type they choose.
Walking canes were never designed for packing in luggage for travel. However, that need has now been addressed in the marketplace.
Most folding canes do not require assembly and neatly fit into their own carrying case for ease of packing for travel.
Designer Canes – Walking Canes for Seniors
These canes are primarily designed as a fashion statement and come in a variety of colors and patterns. The canes are usually lightweight and many have a weightbearing capacity of 200 lbs.
Walking canes for seniors can be selected from the different major types available on the market. Depending on specific needs, and weight bearing capacity, there is a broad variety to choose from. Selecting a cane with the right weight-bearing capacity cannot be over emphasized to prevent accidents and slips, trips, or falls
NIH 2017 Prevent Falls and Fractures https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/prevent-falls-and-fractures A Walking Stick Can Be a Good Alternative to a Cane Am Fam Physician. 2012;85(11):1018-1022 https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2012/0601/p1018a.html