There are few mobility-assisted devices that provide instant usefulness like the time-tested walking cane. Various types of canes have been used for thousands of years for assistance in walking, especially those with impaired mobility that affect the hips, legs, knees, and feet. They come in different forms to emphasize functionality and style. Here are some examples of the functional types of walking canes and sticks along with who is likely to appreciate them.
Types of Walking Canes and Sticks
The Anatomical Walking Cane
Some canes are built more anatomically for personalized support. For instance, you will find canes with grip handles that are built to conform to the human palm. Anatomically built walking canes are usually similar variations of the Derby Cane and offer a similar level of protection. Perfect for those who want something similar but perhaps a little more comfortable than a Derby cane.
The Common “C-Cane” or “Crook Neck Walking Cane”
These classic walking canes are the most common and simple type you will find among cane users. They are straight canes with a “hook” design at the top used for grip and leverage. These canes are used for basic balance and to take some weight off of an injured or immobile side of the body and for those who only have light or mild balance issues.
The Derby Handle Walking Cane
A Derby handle cane is far more ergonomic than its classic cousin, also known as a “grip cane”. It only differs from the classic C-cane style by its handle, with a more ergonomic shape that allows the user to apply more downward pressure on the center of the stick, helping those who need a little extra help keeping their balance. Derby sticks are also considered by many to have more style appeal than standard cane.
The Quad Walking Cane
Quad canes provide the highest level of support for those who need balance and support. Usually constructed of aluminum or light metal, these walking canes will usually have a rubberized grip top and a sturdy wide base with four tips on the bottom. The grip handle applies all pressure to the center of the extra-wide base, allowing for some sway and swagger without losing its support. Quad walking canes are helpful as long-term cane for those with permanent or serious impairments to their mobility.
The Knob Handle Walking Cane
Knob handle canes are like the gear shifter in a car attached to a cane stick of ample length for walking. Knob canes are used for walking but a reputation of being used defensively as a weapon in situations where protection is needed. Knob handle canes also usually have fashionable knobs affixed for a more stylish appeal.
The Hiking Cane
A hiking cane or “walking stick” is an exception to the rule; a cane used by the most active of us all instead of the elderly or the impaired. Hiking canes are lightweight, straight, and lengthy with a rubber grip handle on the end and a tip on the bottom. Most hiking sticks are retractable or fold-able and used to keep balance during long walks, retain leg strength for a longer period of time, give extra support to the hiker and help move away foliage and sticks in the path if necessary. Hiking sticks are most often used by active outdoor individuals for use in the woods and along paths.
The Folding Walking Cane
Folding canes, when properly opened and secured, offer the same protection for their use as a traditional straight cane. This folding style will usually have the smaller Derby handle but also have the ability to fold in multiple positions along the shaft for safe travel and storage. This makes it a little extra convenient for those who may be seated for a long period of time and need to pack & travel with their cane. Useful for long-term cane users.
Style vs. Function
Once you know what kind of cane will be most functional for your needs, you can take a look at the style. You will see there is an endless array of options in colors and styles. Canes are not different from most types of products and have a broad range in price from economical to high-end depending on the materials used, the brand, and your budget.
If you are someone who really needs a cane for function, you should first and foremost decide which type of cane or stick you need from the above types. Once you know what kind, then you can focus on the style of your walking cane. If you are unsure what type of cane will function best for you, your health physician should know based on how much balance you need and how often you will need the cane.