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Mobility Monitor

Which type of cane is right for you?

Canes are just one of several ambulatory devices available on the market today. The use of a cane improves balance by increasing a person’s support base.

There are four categories of canes on the market. Each provides a slightly different type of assistance.

  • C cane: This type of cane is the most simple of all canes. It is a single straight cane with a curve forming a handle on top, which is designed to improve balance. The C cane should only be used by those needing slight assistance with balance or minimal unweighting of the opposite leg.
  • Functional grip cane: This type of cane is similar to the C cane except for the handle. This cane has a straight grip handle rather than a smooth curve, which allows for better grip. The improved grip provides better cane control and thus provides better support than the C cane. Functional grip canes are appropriate for the patient who needs slightly more assistance with balance than what the C cane provides.
  • Quad cane: This is another type of cane designed with a rectangle base and four small supports that contact the floor. This type of base provides more support than the above two canes. Quad canes are available in two varieties depending on the size of the base. They are categorized as small base and large base quad canes. The quad cane is designed to help those who need even more assistance with balance than what is provided by the C cane and the functional grip cane.
  • Hemiwalker cane: This cane provides the most support by combining the features of a quad cane and a walker. This type of cane provides a much larger base than any of the canes described above. Hemiwalkers also provide an additional amount of lateral support. Those transitioning from using a walker to a cane will benefit from the use of this type of cane.

For whichever cane you decide best fits your needs, is important to appropriately size your cane. When standing, the arm that is grasping the cane should have a twenty-degree bend in the elbow. If there is any confusion, ask your local physical therapist or medical supply store for assistance.