Walking Sticks vs Canes - Here is the difference – River Walking Sticks

Walking Sticks vs Canes - Here is the difference

Are there any differences between walking sticks and canes?

And between the two, which one is better at nursing joint pain and giving greater comfort?

But before we look into the above questions, let’s take a walk into the past to find out the one that preceded the other. The phrase—walking cane wasn’t known until the 16th century. However, the term—walking stick had established its name since the first man walked the earth.

During this ancient era, man used a walking stick as a traveling aid over uneven grounds. Also, he used it as a sign of authority, a defense weapon, and a symbol of social status. Then, from jointed stems he created more fashionable items from cane, bamboo, and rattan.


Here, the term–walking cane was invented out of the material (cane) used. And from that time onwards, people used the names interchangeably. More often than not, they called walking sticks walking canes. Interestingly, this practice has found its way into the 21
st century era.

Today, walking sticks and canes play essential roles in our daily lives. Their basic function provides balance, comfort, defense, and support to our bodies. This is the primary reason medical experts recommend them to people at risk of falling and those having severe joint pains.

These people include the aged, disabled, and injured persons, to name a few. Though there are several mobility aids on the market, walking sticks and canes are the most common ones. And looking at their relative likeness, you may wonder if they have any difference.

To help you unveil this mystery, this informative article will focus on the following topics:

  •         What is a walking stick?
  •         What is a walking cane?
  •         Key differences between a walking stick and canes
  •         The degree of balance and support you need
  •         Taking your weight into consideration
  •         Choosing between comfort and style
  •         And few others.

Without much ado, let’s get started!

  1.     Comparison Between Walking Sticks and Canes

Most people hardly know the difference between a walking stick and a cane. So, they often used them interchangeably. But, despite this confusion, they are two unique items with specific uses. To fully understand their slight differences, kindly read on.

  •         What Is A Walking Stick?

A walking stick is a device that can provide some support and balance. However, technically speaking, it’s an accessory and not a mobility aid. A walking stick is made for temporary use. For instance, during mountain hiking and other outdoor adventures. Again, it isn't designed to transfer your body weight from the affected parts to your upper body.  

  •         What Is A Walking Cane?


A walking cane is a mobility aid that supports a user's body weight. Acting like a crutch, it distributes the weight on your affected leg to your upper body. This results in effortless movement. In the United States, one-in-ten adults above sixty-five years rely on canes to move around. In addition, canes are made for long-term use as a popular mobility aid for the elderly.

  •         Their Six Key Differences

The main disparities between a walking stick and a cane can be seen in the following factors:

  1. a)     Their Main Functions:

A walking stick is designed mainly for balance and stability. It’s essential when hiking or walking on rough terrains. On the other hand, a walking cane is designed specially to transfer pressure off your affected leg to your upper body. Therefore, a walking cane is comfortable, reliable, and safer for practical daily usage than a walking stick.

  1. b)     Their Main Users:

A walking stick and a cane can effectively serve and benefit a group of users. For instance, a walking stick is suitable for people who use it for the short term. Some of these people include tourists, film actors, religious and political leaders, to name a few. While on the flip side, a walking cane is best for people who want to use it for the long term as a pain-reliever. A few of these users are the aged, injured persons, and disabled, to mention a few.

  1. c)     Their Unique Handles:

A walking stick and a cane always come with handles. Importantly, the handles also help us differentiate between them. Often, walking sticks feature novelty handles. Mostly, these elaborate designs cause severe pains. In contrast, a walking cane often comes with an ergonomic and comfortable handle. These handles provide greater comfort, safety, and pain-free to the user.

  1. d)     Their Mobility Support:

Between the two, experts regard walking sticks as purely fashion accessories. This is because they offer minor support to people battling joint pains. However, experts regard walking canes as mobility aids. The reason is they offer maximum support to users battling joint pains. Also, sometimes for life, it becomes their walking aid or companion.

  1. e)     Their Body Positioning:

The positioning of the devices offers another tremendous difference. For instance, those who use walking sticks often hold them in front of their body. However, walking cane users often hold them in the hand to the side of the body. This means to the opposite hand of the affected leg.

  1. f)       Their Period of Use:

A walking cane is designed to be used daily over a long period. That’s why it’s suitable for people nursing joint pains and other body discomforts. On the other end, a walking stick is designed to be used over a shorter period. And that’s why it’s ideal for adventure seekers.

  1.     How to Decide Between A Walking Stick And Cane

Now, you know the link between the two types of devices. And since each has a specific use, you should pick the right item for the right purpose. Always consider the following key factors when choosing your mobility device to make it easier for you. It will help save time and money!

  •         The Degree of Balance And Support You Need

A walking stick and a cane offer different help. Therefore, before buying any mobility device, consider its purpose and level of assistance. A stick is an excellent choice when you need extra support during hiking or to boost your fashion sense. However, a walking cane becomes your redeemer when you need a device for the long term. Such mobility aids are designed to offer massive balance while relieving pains.

  •         Taking Your Weight Into Consideration

Your weight is an essential factor to consider when buying a mobility device. Because it does affect the kind of mobility aid you can use effectively. A walking stick, because of its usage, is created to handle lightweights. But a walking cane is made to offer full-body support to its users. Therefore, it's ideal for heavier persons who need massive support to handle their weight. 

  •         Choosing Between Comfort And Style

Style and comfort are two factors that should guide your choice of mobility device. For example, if you’re the adventure seeker who needs a device that offers good looks, some support, and peace of mind during arduous activities, then a walking stick should be your next companion.    

In contrast, most people would depend on a mobility device because of the long-term comfort. For instance, if you have less strength in your leg, an elderly or a disabled person, a walking cane should answer your challenge.

It’s purposely made to offer massive comfort, balance, and support to those who badly need it.

My Final Thoughts On Walking Sticks And Canes


Walking sticks and canes are useful devices with specific purposes. And even though most people think they are the same, we have identified that they aren’t. First, walking sticks are suitable for the short-term, whereas walking canes are ideal for the long-term.

Second, walking sticks offer immediate solutions to adventure seekers and people wanting to boost their fashion sense. Third, however, walking canes offer an immediate remedy to people wanting to manage their pain daily over a long period.

Again, canes are designed to handle heavier weights. This makes them ideal for supporting full body weight without breaking down. Sadly, you can’t say the same for walking sticks. They are designed to accommodate lighter weights, making them unsuitable for full body weight.

Additionally, sticks feature elaborate and flashy handles, causing severe pain to their users. However, walking canes boast comfortable handles, ensuring comfort and safety. Moreover, walking sticks are fashion accessories, whereas walking canes are authentic mobility aids.

At this juncture, you can confidently vote for the device that’s better at nursing joint pain and offering the utmost comfort.

We have come to the end of our comparison, and hopefully, you have added to your stock of knowledge. With this awareness, you’ll avoid common mistakes when buying these devices. Remember, you can’t use a walking stick in place of a walking cane. They function differently.

Finally, if you need the best price and quality for these items, you can buy them from our online store. Also, you can contact us with queries on walking sticks and canes. Our doors are opened!