Cane purchasers have to select one of three basic cane types currently available. They need to consider which will best suit their purposes.
The solid one-piece cane is the first type. These are non-folding canes that are sometimes adjustable for height. It is the least expensive of the three, and also the sturdiest, because there is no way for it to come apart. Unfortunately, it is also the most unwieldy of the three. It is easily knocked over and difficult to store. It can be an unwelcome companion when dining, seeing a movie, or traveling, especially by airplane.
The second type is the multiple-piece (usually 4 or 5 pieces) travel cane. It folds into the shortest length and can even travel in a large handbag. It uses tapered aluminum tubes, held together by an elastic cord, that wedge into each other to form a cane. On the face of it, this seems like a better choice than the standard one-piece cane. However, the travel cane has some drawbacks. The elastic cord causes the cane to SNAP open whenever it is released from its folded position. This can result in consequences, like clearing a dining table, or a passers-by being poked by an unfolding cane. This type of cane must be tied or bagged when folded. If, during use, the foot of the cane becomes wedged in a grating, or in a crack in the pavement, the cane may come apart when the user lifts the cane to take the next step. This usually results in a fall. Taking the cane apart for storage is difficult and requires good hand strength as the pieces wedge together and the wedging gets tighter and tighter as you apply force for support to the handle. The joints usually are supplied with a dry lubricant that makes initial disassembly easy, but after a relatively short time the lubricant is replaced by dust and dirt. Not a cane for people with hand problems. Most of these canes end up being used in the open position only, or as a solid cane.
The hinged folding adjustable cane has the same attributes as the solid cane when in use (with the hinge locked), but allows the user to easily fold the cane in half for storage or handling when not in use. This simple reduction in length makes a world of difference in convenience when not in use. It can be placed on one’s lap in the theater, in one’s lap or in a tote bag in the restaurant, on the seat or one’s lap in the car. The unlatching, or folding, of the cane requires light pressure on a release button, and gravity provides all the necessary force for folding. The opening of the cane can be performed with a simple flip of the hand holding it. The folded length of the cane (about 16 inches) allows it to be stored as a travel cane in most luggage, but why not keep it out for use on the train or plane? They may take you to the door in a wheelchair but you still have to get to your seat and your cane will assist you in getting there or to the bathroom later. The seatback storage in front of you will keep it ready for use. The best cane for everyday use, in our opinion.
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