Walking sticks have bases of three different types: single point, three point (tripod) or a four point (quadra pod) bases. Tripods and Quadra pods are freestanding and are more stable than standard walking sticks. They are usually used singly rather than in pairs. They are more difficult to use on stairs than standard walking sticks.

Tripods and Quadrupods are sometimes used by individuals who have had a stroke. However, opinion of health care professionals is divided. Some studies suggest that use of tripods or quadrupods reduce sway of the user. Some others argue that they encourage an asymmetrical gait with the stronger, unaffected side leading rather than promoting equal use of the affected and unaffected sides. Please discuss the pros and cons with your health care professional if you are considering a tripods or quadrupod.

All tripods and quadrupods are made of metal, usually aluminium or steel, and have a telescopic mechanism for adjusting length using spring loaded catches.

If buying a tripod or quadrapod, first consider the height of the walking stick (see previous post). Consider also size of base. Tripods and quadrupods are available in narrow and wide based versions, the wide base offering greater stability.

Since the handgrip can be rotated through 180 degrees so that the spread of the base is away from the user, they can be used by both right and left-handed users.

Some quadrupods incorporate an extension above the handgrip that terminates in an elbow cuff, similar to the cuff found on elbow crutches. This gives added security, by retaining the forearm in a position immediately above the handgrip.