Comparison of the Effect of Cane, Tripod Cane Tip, and Quad Cane on Postural Steadiness in Healthy Older Adults

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ObjectivesPrevious studies have shown that use of assistive devices may contribute to loss of balance and increased risk of falls. The purpose of this study was to compare postural steadiness of older adults using straight cane, tripod, and quad cane.MethodsSixteen healthy older adults (8 men, 8 women; age, 62–84 years) were recruited. Analyses focused on mean and root-mean-square distances from the mean center of pressure position, 95% confidence circle area, total power, 95% power frequencies, and centroidal frequency of the sway signal.ResultsSignificant improvements in postural steadiness were found when the tripod cane tip was used as compared with straight cane. All measured variables of postural steadiness with the tripod cane tip, however, were significantly below those of the quad cane.DiscussionThe findings suggest that use of the tripod cane tip can significantly improve postural steadiness over use of the straight cane. Our findings, however, suggest that tripod canes provide less level of postural steadiness than quad canes.

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