The first sign of mobility problems for seniors is usually a loss of balance or stability while walking. This often shows up as seniors holding onto furniture or walls while walking through the house. Walking aids like canes are really helpful for this group of elderly people by providing the support and balance they need. But, not all canes are the same. So, what is the best walking cane for stability and balance? Read on for different options and my recommendations.

Standard Canes vs. Quad Canes

There are many more types of walking canes than most people realize. If you want to learn more details about each type, check out this post.

Standard canes are the most common type of cane you will see elderly people around town using. They are basically a shaft with a handle and they only touch the ground at one point. This is the tip you see on walking sticks too.

Quad canes, however, have a wider base at the bottom. Attached to this base are 4 prongs with rubber feet that make contact with the ground.

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 Fig. 1: Standard Cane Tip vs. Quad Cane Tip

This difference in base and tips is why quad canes with the 4 prongs are the best canes for stability and balance. The wider base and multiple points of contact mean the cane is in contact with the ground longer throughout the stride.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Quad Canes

As with any piece of medical equipment, it is important to know the advantages and disadvantages so that you can make a good decision.

Advantages:

  • Better stability and balance
  • Bases available in several sizes
  • Stands up on its own
  • Tend to be more durable

Disadvantages:

  • Style choices are more limited
  • A bit heavier than standard canes
  • Some models must be ordered for right hand or left hand

It’s All About the Base…

The wider base at the bottom offers several other advantages in addition to helping with balance problems. First, the wider base allows the cane to stand on its own. So, when the senior sits, they can stand the cane up next to the chair. That way, it is ready to go when they are. Also, the wider bases reduce the chances of it being dropped while walking. The bases are available in small and large, wide and narrow base options depending on the level of supports the senior needs. Large bases tend to be used more with men because they need more support typically. Women who use canes tend to prefer the smaller base version.

Fig. 2: Small Base Quad Cane vs. Large Base Quad Cane

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Minor Drawbacks

The few drawbacks to a quad cane aren’t a big deal but should still be understood. First, style choices are going to be limited for people who want highly fashionable canes. They also are a bit heavier than a standard cane because of the wider base and 4 prongs on the cane.

Right Hand or Left Hand May Matter

CAUTION: It is important to know that some quad canes are handed. This means they are used in either the right hand or the left hand. Why would it matter? Because the base is narrower on the side nearest to the user. The purpose here is to reduce the chance of the cane hitting the user’s feet and causing them to trip or even fall.

My recommended quad canes work with both right and left-handed seniors. But, I wanted you to know that in case you shop elsewhere.

My Recommended 4 Prong Quad Canes

Based on my experience working with seniors and elderly at a medical equipment store, here are my recommended quad canes.

Vive Adjustable Quad Cane for Right or Left Hand

This is my favorite 4 prong cane for people looking for a basic, does the job type of quad cane. Everything about it simple to set up and simple to use.

This quad cane can be used in the right or left hand by spinning the base to the proper side. You want the narrower side closest to the user’s body.

Other reasons I like this product:

  • 5 colors: blue, black, brown, red, purple
  • Lightweight – less than 2 lbs
  • Adjustable height to fit a wide range of seniors
Vive Adjustable Quad Cane - Lightweight Walking Stick for Men & Women - Walking Staff Can Be Used By...
771 Reviews
Vive Adjustable Quad Cane - Lightweight Walking Stick for Men & Women - Walking Staff Can Be Used By...
  • SUPERIOR STABILITY AND TRACTION ON ANY SURFACE: Safely navigate over any surface, indoors and out. The quad cane base provides greater traction on...
  • NONSLIP, FOUR-PRONGED BASE: Easily switching from the left to right side, the four prong base locks into place providing additional support without...
  • COMFORTABLE ERGONOMIC GRIP: Fitted with an ergonomically contoured hand grip, the cane handle creates a secure, yet comfortable grip perfect for daily...
  • CORROSION-RESISTANT LIGHTWEIGHT FRAME: Constructed with a durable anodized aluminum, the quad cane is lightweight and corrosion-resistant. Dual...
  • VIVE GUARANTEE: Unconditional Lifetime guarantee so you can purchase now with confidence.

Images, Product Info, and Ratings from Amazon Product Advertising API - Last update on 2018-01-15 at 15:34 - contains affiliate links (see footer).


Ez2Care Adjustable Folding Quad Cane

For seniors with tight spaces or who travel a lot, this folding quad cane from Ez2Care is a big help. It folds up quickly and even fits in suitcases and travel bags.

It offers the stability and balance of other quad canes but this base is a little beefier than others. The base can be used with right or left handed seniors by rotating the shaft.

What else you should know:

  • Only available in the black/gray color
  • Lightweight – weighs about 1 lb
  • Adjustable height to fit a wide range of seniors
Ez2care Adjustable Lightweight Folding Quad Cane, Metallic Black
693 Reviews
Ez2care Adjustable Lightweight Folding Quad Cane, Metallic Black
  • Effortless switching to fit either hands. Simply press the knob release and switch direction. Conveniently folded for carrying and storage.
  • Dual side snap design allows the cane to fit comfortably on either the left or the right side.
  • Ergonomically designed contoured handle to provide maximum comfort and safety. Offset form handle for easy grip and nice, comfortable touch
  • Adjustable Height from 29 Inch to 37 Inch ; Fit 1/2 inch shaft cane tip
  • Come with cane strap to easy carrying, Holds up to 250lbs. Please note: Authorized seller: Amazon, Comfytopia, Chang Enterprise.

Images, Product Info, and Ratings from Amazon Product Advertising API - Last update on 2018-01-15 at 15:34 - contains affiliate links (see footer).


Hugo Mobility Large Base Quad Cane

For seniors who need maximum stability and balance, consider a wide base quad cane like this one. The longer, wider base has even more surface area to support the user.

Like my other recommended walking canes, the base can be rotated to fit right or left handed users. Simply loosen the adjustment knob and spin the base until the narrower side is toward the body.

What else you should know:

  • 3 colors: black, cocoa, and rose
  • A little heavier – weighs about 2.7 lbs
  • Adjustable height to fit seniors from 5’0″ to 6’5″
Hugo Mobility Adjustable Quad Cane for Right or Left Hand Use, Ebony, Large Base
211 Reviews
Hugo Mobility Adjustable Quad Cane for Right or Left Hand Use, Ebony, Large Base
  • This large base quad cane is height adjustable and can accommodate most people between 5' - 6'.5"
  • The Hugo Quad Cane has a shock absorbing cushion-top handle with reflective strap for added night time safety
  • Push buttons provide 11 precision height settings supporting up to 300 lbs
  • The ergonomic cane handle is designed to fit more comfortably in your hand while the K-shaped base provides greater stability and can be rotated for...
  • Heavy-gauge anodized aluminum provides durability while being light weight

Images, Product Info, and Ratings from Amazon Product Advertising API - Last update on 2018-01-15 at 15:34 - contains affiliate links (see footer).


Conclusions and Summary

A quad cane with 4 prongs on the bottom is usually recommended as the best walking cane for stability. The larger base offers more support by maintaining contact with the ground better. They are truly helpful to seniors with minor balance issues. They are very inexpensive and people either buy them outright or they are also covered by Medicare.

However, if the senior seems unsteady only using one hand for balance, a walker, a rollator with seat or even a wheelchair should be considered. The goal here is for improved safety for seniors and elderly. Reducing the chance of a fall is an important part of this.

Do you have any experience picking out a quad cane for you or a loved one? Which one do you recommend? Feel free to share in the comments below. Questions are always welcome too!