Mobility issues can be extremely frustrating, especially if they keep you from doing all your basic chores by yourself. You may ask yourself which will help me more, a cane or a walker?
One may have mobility issues due to several reasons. You could have fallen prey to accidents, joint problems, neurological illness, or age-related diseases.
Mobility issues can significantly reduce a person’s independence as you have to rely on someone to help you move around.
However, thanks to different mobility aids, such as canes and walkers, you can continue enjoying the independence that you’re so used to.
While many people think that using mobility aids like a cane or walker reduces self-reliance, they can actually play a vital role in promoting it.
Instead of asking someone to help you move about, a cane and walker will make you self-sufficient and will boost your confidence!
The two of the most common mobility aids available today are canes and walkers. If you’re buying a walking aid for the first time, you might find yourself stuck trying to figure out which is the best one in the cane vs. walker decision.
This blog post talks about both canes and walkers in detail to help you pick the option that best suits you.
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- 1 Canes
- 2 Walkers
- 3 Canes vs. Walkers – Which One Is Better?
- 4 Conclusion
Canes are the least bulky and most basic kind of mobility aids that you’ll find.
If you’re suffering from mild to moderate stability or balance problems, canes are the ideal option for you.
Types of Canes
There are three
different types of canes, each targeting a different form and level of mobility
Traditional Single-Point Canes
Traditional single-point canes are, by far, the most widely used types of canes. They get their name because of their single contact point with the ground.
These types of canes are equipped with a C-curve handle. Traditional single-point canes are intended to be used by individuals who require minimal aid for balance and support.
It is more of a supplementary mobility assistance device.
These canes are made of aluminum or wood. They come with a fixed height or an adjustable height to suit the individual.
Traditional single-point canes are more often prescribed to people who are suffering from mild issues with their motor skills, likely due to injuries to lower body or old age.
Functional Grip Canes
These canes have vertical grips that allow individuals to have a firmer grip, reduced stress on the forearms and wrist, and much better stability and control.
If you’re looking for a cane that can bear a significant amount of weight, these canes are what you should consider buying.
Tripod or Quad Canes
If you’re on the lookout for a cane that offers excellent stability and can bear a good amount of weight, tripod or quad canes with 3 or 4 points of contact with the ground, respectively, are your best option.
Newer models can even be unfolded to form a chair, which makes them highly suitable to be carried along while you’re traveling.
Pros of Using a Cane
Canes come with numerous pros, which makes them a very attractive
option to consider.
- They are light in weight, portable, and easy to maneuver, even when you’re navigating in tight spaces
- Canes are inexpensive
- Some models of canes can be folded, which makes them easy to store and even carry with you while you’re traveling
- They offer the least intrusion in your social and personal life. This allows you to completely immerse yourself in recreational and work activities
- They offer good support and improve your balance while you’re walking
Limitations of Canes
While there are numerous pros of canes, they do come with
- A cane does not offer support to your entire
body. Instead, canes support only one side of the body. Therefore, you have to
make sure that you hold the cane with your stronger arm to compensate for the
weakness that you feel on the other side of your body.
- Canes can be risky if you don’t handle them
properly. They are not very stable. If you end up incorrectly holding a cane,
you might end up losing balance, which will eventually lead to you falling down.
- Since using a cane puts one side of your body
under stress, you might suffer from pain in your wrists, hands, knees, and
- Canes offer support that is good enough if your
disability is minor. In case you need greater support, canes are not the right
option for you.
If a cane has failed at providing you the support and comfort that you’re looking for, walkers are one of the better solutions.
These four-legged devices provide sufficient mobility assistance. They are designed to provide exceptional stability to people who have more serious mobility problems and are at a higher risk of falling.
These mobility assistance devices have a wide base and significantly spaced-out handles. This allows you to completely lean in and settle your entire body weight on it.
Walkers are an excellent choice for you if you have been through surgery recently and are suffering from serious ambulatory issues.
Types of Walkers
There are two major types of walkers, each with certain
variations, to suit people with different natures and levels of mobility
Standard walkers comprise of an aluminum frame. They have a fairly broad base with an option to adjust the height, adding to the user’s comfort.
They are primarily for individuals who have adequate strength in their upper body and the motor coordination that’s required to lift the walker and then move it forward
Being light in weight, standard walkers do not put too much stress on the user’s body.
However, for someone who lacks the strength to even lift the walker up, standard walkers are not an ideal mobility aid.
If you have a mobility issue that has left with you with excessive weakness, rollators are probably your best bet at maintaining your normal lifestyle and staying independent.
They are one of the best mobility aids for aged individuals, thanks to the padded seat and backrest.
If you’re looking for a mobility
aid that does not require much of an effort from the patient, a rollator is
what you should get.
Pros of Using Walkers
There are many benefits of using a walker as your mobility
aid. Some of them have been listed down below:
- Walkers offer unmatched stability to the user
with their four legs and a wide base
- They provide support to the entire body as they
are held with both hands
- Some walkers are foldable, which makes them
- With their padded seat and backrest, rollators
(walkers with wheels) provide the user with the highest levels of comfort and
Limitations of Walkers
However, while walkers do have their pros, they also have their
own set of limitations, which we have listed down for you.
- As the patient has to stay in a leaning position
most of the time while they’re using a walker, it can result in the development
of a poor posture
- It requires the user to take small steps to
ensure that they don’t lose control of the mobility aid. If they take too big
of a step, they might end up pushing the walker beyond their grip and end up
- The user needs to have a significant amount of
strength in their upper body to be able to move the walker
Canes vs. Walkers – Which One Is Better?
When you’re choosing the mobility aid for you in the canes
vs. walkers debate, you need to consider a few things. These are:
- The amount of bodyweight you wish to support
- The type of extent of your mobility problems
While canes are suitable for people who need minor support, walkers have the edge of offering excellent support and balance.
Walkers are also superior when it comes to the amount of body weight each device can support. Canes can only support 25% of your body weight, whereas walkers can support as much as 50% of your total body weight.
The amount of stability offered is better with walkers as compared to canes, and the chances of losing balance and falling are higher with canes as compared to walkers.
In addition, for someone who is looking for a mobility aid
to make moving around easier in their old age, walkers are an excellent option.
After looking at the pros and cons of each of the mobility aids discussed in this blog post, we conclude that in the cane vs. walker debate, a walker is a better mobility aid that supports a greater number of mobility problems.
The use of canes is limited to problems that are minor and short-term, while walkers are suitable to address long-term, more serious mobility issues.
If you’re looking for a mobility aid for problems like a sprain in your ankle or temporary support for walking, canes will do the job for you.
However, if you’re looking for greater support, walkers are what you should opt for!