Choosing a Walking Cane for a Senior

August 13, 2013

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Are you caring for a senior who is unsteady on their feet?  Do they have a lack of balance or experience dizzy spells that may cause them to fall? If so, a walking cane could be used to aid them in staying on their feet.  Falls are particularly dangerous for the elderly.  A consultation with your doctor is always the first step if balance issues or dizziness are an issue for you or a loved one.  Your doctor can then determine if a cane is an appropriate walking aid.  Occasionally, a physical therapist may be consulted to further evaluate the need for a balance device.  Also, a podiatrist can evaluate if a sore foot is the cause of the imbalance, and determine the need for prescription shoes or insoles if necessary.    

If you are buying a walking cane for a senior, you need to choose one that is geared to that person’s needs.

Basic Cane Styles

There are four basic styles of walking canes. They are:

  • Knob canes, also known as parrot head canes.

  • Offset canes.

  • Quad Canes.

  • C-canes also known as hook canes.

Let’s take a closer look at which canes are used for specific physical ailments.

Knob Canes

These canes are usually elaborately decorated. They provide very little support and are not for seniors who need substantial aid in walking.

Offset Canes

The offset cane has a handle that is flat on the top. These give a good center balance for seniors who are unsteady or for those who are experiencing problems with their back or hips. If the senior has arthritis, Parkinson’s disease or Muscular Dystrophy, this is the cane to choose.

Quad Canes

A quad cane is made of anodized aluminum and has four short legs that keep the elderly in good balance. If you are choosing a cane for a senior who has mobility issues, this is the cane for them. These canes are not heavy and most can be adjusted for either left or right hand use. Keep in mind that these canes can’t bear a large amount of weight, but will remove pressure from the legs.


C-Canes are also called hook or crook canes. These canes are very popular with seniors but provide less support than an offset cane. C-Canes are usually the least expensive and seniors find them useful in hooking things beyond their reach.

Always follow-up with your doctor after purchasing any medical equipment to determine if it is correct, and to evaluate if any further training is necessary to utilize the device correctly.

Dr. Thomas Lembo
Dr. Thomas Lembo


Hello! I'm the creator of "Samurai Insoles", and work to rid the world of foot pain everyday.