Standard Canes and Quad Canes

The fitting process and the use of standard canes and quad canes are very similar. The choice of which type cane you should use depends on how much support and added stability is needed. The quad cane provides much greater stability because of its multiple points on the ground and has the advantage of being free-standing. One disadvantage of the quad cane is that it is heavier.

Many improvements have been made in canes in recent years. The comfort of the hand grips and the shape of the shaft are two such improvements (Consider these features when selecting a cane). The choice of the handgrip will depend largely on the size of your hand. You also may want to consider one of the canes with a curve in the shaft. This design locates the handgrip directly over the cane tip, eliminating uncomfortable offsetting leverage and instability. This feature provides better balance, added confidence, and less fatigue to the hand and wrist.

In addition to the choice of hand grips and shaft design, quad canes are available in either a narrow base or a wide base version. The wide base models are used by individuals needing substantial support and who do not have to negotiate stairs. The wide base will not safely fit on a step.

The narrow-base quad cane provides somewhat less support but can be used on stairs. Even with the narrow base, the cane should be turned sideways on steps to provide greater safety. You should not attempt to negotiate stairs with any type of cane without the approval of your physician or therapist.

Medicare Information and Qualifications:

Medicare covers canes and crutches for patients who have trouble walking, but can walk with support. Medicare doesn't cover canes for the blind. An order (prescription) must be on file with the supplier. It must be signed and dated by the treating doctor. This is a purchased item.

The items listed below are often sold, prescribed or needed in addition to the equipment above.

  • Replacement grip or tip