Canes is an ambulatory assitive device used for improving postural stability. Canes in common day to day usage are known as walking sticks. A cane can either be made of wood or a light metal such as aluminium. The wooden sticks usually have a crook handle and cannot easily have multipoint tips. Aluminium walking sticks can either have a flat or "swan-neck" top and have the advantages of being adjustable in length and are able to have multiple points e.g. a tripod.
Multipoint walking sticks include tripods and quadripods, both of which can have either flat, swan-neck or ergonomic handles.
A variety of styles and sizes are avilable. The tpe of hand grip prescribed or used depends on two important factors, firstly the comfort of the patient and secondly on the grip's ability to provide adequate surface area to allow effecive transfer of weight from the upper extremity to the floor. There are many types of hand grips avialable example crook handle, piston handle etc.
In measuring a cane height, the cane is placed approximately 6 inches (15.24cm) from the lateral border of the toes. In stanadard practice two landmarks are used during measurement: the greater trochanter and angle of elbow.
The cane should come approximately upto the level of the greater trochanter and the elbow should be flexed to about 20 to 30 degrees.
Gait pattern for use of canes
Cane is held in upper extremity opposite the affected limb. When teaching the patient we should instruct the patient to move the cane and involved lower extremity follwed by the unaffected lower extremity. We should make sure to see that the cane should be relatively close to the body and should not be placed ahead of the toe of involved extremity. When bilateral involvment is there, a clinical decision has to be made as to which side of the body the cane will be held or a bilateral use of cane is necessary or a walker needs to be prescribed.
Stair Climbing with caneWhen ascending unaffected lower extremity leads up and then the cane and affected lower extremity follows. When descending the cane is moved followed by the affected lower extremity and then the unafffected lower extremity.
Recent Related Research (from Pubmed)
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O'Sullivan SB, Schmitz TJ, Fulk G. Physical rehabilitation. FA Davis; 2013 Jul 23.