by Tom Hein | 12:43 pm

GRANTED, on a site specializing in braces, you may not think of finding adjustable walking canes.

However, it IS an aid to either help you through a temporary healing process, or assist those who have a long term walking condition.

You may also think that a cane is a cane is a cane. Not so these days! There are plenty of options (color, material, design, purposes), and I’ll get into them here. Take a look:


How Do I Know It’s Time to Use a Cane?

If you’re recovering from hip, leg, knee, or foot surgery or injury, or the onset of a chronic illness/dis-ease, these are obvious times.

But what about aging and the associated deterioration of joints and muscle that create instability?

An easy way to determine the answer in this scenario is to ask yourself one question – “Will a cane make my life and daily activities safer?” If you hear yes, well – there’s your answer! If you feel unstable while walking, negotiating steps, or always looking for something to hold onto for more steady support – the extra help of a walking cane is what you’re looking for. It will take pain and pressure off that aching joint while walking, give you more security of balance, and lessen the fear of collapsing due to inability of weight bearing on a compromised leg, hip, knee, or foot.

** However, please don’t opt for an adjustable walking cane when a better choice would be crutches. Crutches are meant to completely eliminate any weight bearing on your leg or foot. Trying to do this same thing with a cane, will be far more unstable and create a safety hazard, since you will be more likely to topple over. Plus this would put an undue amount of stress on your wrist.

According to the US FDA: “a cane is a device intended for medical purposes, that is used to provide minimal weight support while walking.”


How DO I Pick From All The Adjustable Walking Canes?

There are multiple types of adjustable walking canes available, so which one do you choose? Let’s look at options:

 

  •  The standard single point “tourist handle” wood canethis is the most common style and can have the most options. However, it must be made to the proper height for you as it is not adjustable.

It can be made of materials other than wood:

*wood – most color, handle, and design options. Some can be carved with intricate designs, and use exotic woods for a very unique and custom look

*aluminum – lightweight (allows for length adjustability)

*carbon fibre – lightweight and stronger than aluminum, yet more costly (also can be adjusted for length)

  • Quad walking caneif you need the most stability and sure-footed support, this would be your best choice. This one has 4 feet vs a single contact point, and is made of aluminum, so even though it has more bulk than the standard walking cane, it will still be lightweight. They are typically adjustable in height, and have an offset handle.  An added built-in bonus is that they will stand up on their own and always be ready, and at hand, where and when you need it. The standard adjustable walking cane has a tendency to slide over sideways and fall on the floor when you set it aside.

 

  • “Fritz” handle cane here is a wooden cane designed by a German Count to be easier to use for arthritis sufferers. The comfortable grip handle has some stylish flare to it. Again, being made of wood, there is no height adjustment.

 

  • Folding T-handle canejust as the name implies,this one has a “T” shaped handle vs the typical rounded over “tourist” style, and it’s foldable – making it a nice choice when traveling by plane; it can be tucked away compactly in a carry-on bag. It is made of strong and lightweight aluminum, which can be raised or lowered to match your height requirements.

 

 

  • Offset canethe idea behind this style, is that with a bend at the top, it puts your weight bearing directly in line with the shaft, and you can lean on it more effectively than the “tourist handle” type. Most often, you find this made of aluminum, and thus it will also be adjustable in height. As shown in the picture, many of these come with a strap attached so that when needed, the hand is free to use without losing the cane.

 

  • Sit-to-Stand Quad Caneadjustable walking canesthis is probably the most versatile and unique design among the adjustable walking canes. It has a 4-footed (quad) base, and a couple offsets. The first offset is at a height that can be used as an aid to go from sitting to standing. The second offset is at the top to distribute your weight directly down the shaft to the quad feet. It is made of aluminum and is one of the more practical adjustable walking canes.

 

 

 

 

   this is a relatively new design that utilizes the concept of 3 contact points with the capability of pivoting. This provides more of a sure grip on rough or uneven surfaces. They are made of aluminum and have easy push button height adjustment. This even folds down to 1/3 of its full size, making it very compact to store away when the need arises. As shown, it has a “T” handle and is available in 3 colors.

 

  • 2-in-1 Walking cane/Seatanother versatile design, this one transforms into a tripod seat. Very convenient if you become tired and need a place to sit and rest where this isn’t a chair handy. Made of aluminum and has height adjustment capabilities, with an offset handle.

 

 

  • Arm support walking stick incorporates the forearm for added support, and making it more like a crutch than a cane, you gain more stability and weight bearing capabilities. Made of aluminum with a padded area for the forearm, and also height adjustable.

These are the adjustable walking canes available through standard manufacturers. With all these options available to you, it’s best to first decide on your specific need. Do you require full, stable support? If so, the quad style will be best. If that’s not your priority, then it can become a personal choice of cost, style, and/or strength.


What Length Do I Need?

With a slight, natural bend at the elbow, and your arm hanging down at your side, the top of the cane should be equal to the wrist joint. This should be easy to accomplish with an adjustable walking cane, but if you have your eye on a non-adjustable type, this is crucial to take into account.


What About Strength?

If you are wondering about how much weight they can bear – most adjustable walking canes fall into the range of 200 – 500 pounds. When you make your final decision, read the specifications to make sure it will support your weight if that is a concern.

 

 

 


Cost?

As you might imagine, there is a wide range here too. If you have very basic needs and taste, you can spend virtually very little. If you have more specific needs – the cost starts to go up. If you wish to make a statement with some flair – you can expect to part with a fair bit more.

In more concrete terms – in USD: about $10 to just under $100 from standard manufacturers. In GBP: those numbers convert to around £8 – £80.

You can have custom ones made that will be substantially more, but be aware that with the more decorative, custom, and elaborate handles, they can be just that – pretty to look and not all that practical from a comfort standpoint.

If you don’t need one of the adjustable walking canes for support, but more for aesthetics, the sky’s the limit for fanciness. You can find some amazing handles that are works of art, but not meant to give you comfort for leaning on.


Have fun picking out your adjustable walking cane, and if you have questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to leave them below. You can expect a prompt reply directly from me.

All the best,

Tom
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Disclaimer: I am trained in a holistic modality, but not as a doctor, so this post or website should not be taken as medical advice. Please do your own research. Material on this blog is the result of either my own experience or research, and is provided for informational purposes only. It is general information that may not apply to your specific situation, and is not a substitute for your own doctor’s medical care or advice.

Please use discernment in the consideration of purchasing any type of health related products via the internet. Educating yourself prior to buying is always suggested and recommended.

Comments

Todd Matthews

If I were to use a cane in the future (and I’m sure I’ll probably in that crowd with the way my knee and hips are), I’d probably opt for the wood. For me, it’d be all about customization and with that, it’ll look more like a prop rather than just a piece of equipment that might indicate a handicap. To make a cane part of me and my overall appearance would give off an impression that it’s more of an addition than anything else. It might sound strange, but its something that will suit me well, of course, unless I’m told otherwise. 

Jul 05.2019 | 05:07 pm

    Tom Hein

    I really get that Todd. 

    It’s very easy to make a statement and have it more of an accessory with a customised wooden cane, and still get the support you need. 

    Take care of those knees and hips, before you need a cane sooner than you would (wood) like 😉 

    Jul 05.2019 | 05:38 pm

Phil

My life is currently filled with aging people, both on my side and my girlfriend’s side. My mother is moving at the end of the month to a senior’s residence, and each week, I give her a full day of work to help with getting ready for the move. Last week, we found a cane deep at the bottom of a closet! We had no idea to whom it had belonged to, best guess being one of my stepfather’s ex-wife’s parents! We put it to the curb side, and funnily enough, it was picked up within a few minutes! (I guess neighbors are on the watch as they know we put a lot of good stuff on the curb every Wednesday!)

But my next thought was: maybe we should have kept it, it was a perfectly good cane. My mom is pretty frail, but never used a cane. My dad uses one in tricky situations, like when there is ice on sidewalks. 

So I found your article very relevant at this moment in time for me: does my mom need a cane? First off, I think she would feel insulted if I showed her your article (don’t take it personally, this of course has nothing to do with your well-written excellent article, just her!) Next, considering her mobility, my conclusion is that she does not need a cane right now, but might need one soon. Very informative, thank you very much! 

Jul 05.2019 | 05:10 pm

    Tom Hein

    Thank you first of all Phil, for reading my post, and for your thoughts and comments!

    It’s never an easy time to deal with aging parents. I went through the very thing you are many years ago already (at an age that was too young for my parents to be in that condition) with both parents at the same time!

    Most people have a hard time giving into their ego and admit/accept that they need an aid of any type. Unless of course, they are prone to falling of some other difficulty and actually ask for help.

    Whether your Mom is in need of a cane at this time, is something that I can’t speak to. She would need to be evaluated by a health professional that she trusts and respects, and will use a cane if that is what is recommended by the specialist. 

    If she does need and want one at some point – you know where to find one 😉

    All the best Phil,

    Tom

    Jul 05.2019 | 07:07 pm

Gaurav Gaur

Hi, Tom.
Thanks for sharing the article on choosing walking canes with tremendous research.
A lot of designs for different usages are very informative. My mother had knee replacement surgery before two years and she used Quad Walking cane for three months and then shifted to much light weight Offset Cane ( Wow..I too know the types now).
You have described about 2 in 1 Walking Cane / Seat, what may be the approximate weight of it ?
Is it recommended for a person undergone knee surgery?
Warm Regards,
Gaurav Gaur

Jul 05.2019 | 05:15 pm

    Tom Hein

    Hello Gaurav,

    Thank you for looking over my article on walking canes. 

    It DOES sound like you are also well versed on the different types due to your mother’s need for them.
    The 2 in 1 Walking cane/seat
    is rated for 220 pounds (100 kilograms). 

    To use this type of seat/cane after knee surgery, I would make sure the seat is adjusted upwards as far as possible (in relation to the person’s height) so that minimal strain is transferred to the knee joint while trying to regain your feet from the seated position. 

    Best of luck,

    Tom

    Jul 05.2019 | 06:04 pm

Madeleine

I didn’t know there were so many kinds of canes?  My Mom used to use an ordinary cane but it can be dangerous to rely on those. A cane that falls out of your hand, has to be picked up and that is where the danger is. A person who is already unsteady, can fall and break a hip while reaching for that darn cane.

 I love some of the other options you have noted, the ones that would not fall as easily, like the hurry cane  and quad canes. Many people who need aids in walking, have just as much trouble getting back up from a chair, and that is where the sit to stand quad canes would come in handy.  

Jul 05.2019 | 05:17 pm

    Tom Hein

    You’re so right Madeleine – falls from unstable canes are a real problem for the elderly, whose bones are more brittle and take longer to heal – and in some cases, falls can lead to hip replacements. 

    So many issues can be addressed with the proper cane, such as the Hurrycane.

    The sit-to-stand canes are also a really nice invention. As you say – getting up from a soft chair can be a challenge, even for younger, healthier folks. 

    Thank you for your comments and I’m glad you found this blog of interest. 

    Jul 05.2019 | 05:47 pm

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