08 July, 2011
Four-Footed Canes for Safety
Four-footed canes, also known as quad canes, offer four points of contact with the ground instead of one. Designed for those who have trouble with walking, balance and strength, the four-footed cane is similar to a traditional cane, but the base or tip of the cane is fitted with four smaller "legs" that offer greater ground contact and support. Consult your doctor for help in finding the best cane for you.
Canes fitted with four legs offer greater stability and surface contact, reducing the chance of slipping or imbalance for those using it. Four-legged walking canes are designed for children or seniors and typically offer a variety of choices in how far apart the legs are situated, their length and in overall design of the cane itself. Canes for children come in adjustable heights from 38 to about 52 inches. Seniors should choose canes offering adjustable height for spine support and posture.
Quad canes for adults come with varying weight limits, though most are capable of handling between 300 and 500 pounds of resistance. Check with the cane's manufacturer for specifications regarding weight limits before purchasing. The more weight you need to support, the more you may want to go with a four-legged cane for enhanced stability, the myOptumHealth website suggests.
Reduced Fall Risk
Because of their wider base, four-footed canes help reduce fall risks indoors and outdoors. Rubber-tipped prongs grip a number of flooring styles, including cement, hardwood and carpeting and reduce the chance that the tip will slip.
Base Size Support
A four-legged cane offers a selection of base widths. For example, the lowest setting of some small or large base quad cane models allows for height adjustment settings of 29 to 38 inches, the AlltimeMedical website explains. Depending on the base size and your ability to walk with the four-pronged cane, you'll want to make sure that your elbow doesn't need to bend at more than 30 degrees. This will help prevent back strain, or the need to stoop over to use the cane, which will decrease stability and optimal function and support.
If you've been diagnosed with a foot, leg or hip injury, are recovering from hip-replacement surgery or have been diagnosed with a neuromuscular condition like Parkinson's disease or other form of neuropathy, a quad cane may help improve your independence, mobility and quality of life. Talk to your doctor about the differences between a single-tip cane and a four-footed cane based on your medical condition, strength and overall physical health and abilities.
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