Difference between Walking Canes and Walking Sticks

The term ‘walking cane’ was actually invented out of the material used. Since then, people have used the term to refer to the walking sticks for men and women as well; their names were interchangeable according to the people. In the 21st century, this practice was extensively done.

Walking canes and sticks serve an important role in people’s daily lives. Primarily, their function is to offer comfort, balance, and support to the people’s bodies. This is exactly why medical professionals recommend them to people with severe joint aches and who are at the risk of falling while they walk. Other people, such as injured ones, aged and disabled, also use them to walk properly. Despite the availability of numerous mobility aids in the market, walking canes for women and men and sticks are the most common ones to be used by people.

A walking stick and a walking cane are two different items, each having its own specific application. Since they have a relative likeness, one might wonder if they are any different from each other. In this blog, we will help you unveil this mystery. We will talk about what exactly is a walking cane and walking stick, key differences between both of them, the degree of support and balance you require, take your weight into consideration and choose between style and comfort, and some more. Without much ado, let us get started to understand what is what.

What are a walking cane and a walking stick?

A walking cane is actually a mobility help that supports the bodyweight of the user. It serves as a crutch, distributing the bodyweight on the affected leg to the upper part of the body, thereby resulting in an effortless and smooth movement. According to a study done recently, one in ten adults above the age of sixty-five is dependent on canes to move properly. Apart from this, canes are designed for long-term application as a popular mobility aid for the elderly population.

Meanwhile, a walking stick is a device that has the ability to offer some kind of support and balance. Having said that, if we speak from a technical point of view, it is an accessory and not exactly a mobility aid. A walking stick is actually designed for short-term or temporary application. For example, you can take its help during outdoor adventures such as mountain hiking. Moreover, a stick is not designed for transferring your body weight from the affected parts to the upper part of the body.

Read More: Why Use a Walking Cane?

Key differences between walking cane and walking sticks

You can notice the key disparities between a walking cane and a stick in these six factors:

1. Their primary application purpose:

A walking stick is primarily designed for balance and stability purposes when the user goes hiking or walks on rough surfaces. On the other hand, a walking cane is specifically designed for transfering the pressure off the affected leg of the user to their upper body part. Thus, a walking cane is proven to be safer, reliable, and comfortable for practical everyday application than a walking stick.

2. Their target users:

Noth walking cane and a walking stick cane effectively help a group of users. For example, a walking stick is considered ideal for a person who uses it for a short duration. It can be film actors, tourists, political or religious leaders. Meanwhile, a walking cane is suited for people who want to use it for pain relief for a long time period. Some of its active users include the disabled, elderly, and injured people.

3. Distinct handles of both types:

A walking cane and stick always feature a handle. More importantly, it helps people differentiate between both types. Oftentimes, walking sticks come with novelty handles, and the elaborate designs result in serious body pain. Contrarily, a walking cane features a handle that is ergonomic and comfortable. These handles offer great safety, comfort, and a pain-free experience to the person using them.

4. Their mobility support:

Experts often say that between the two of the items, walking sticks are purely intended to be used as a fashion accessory. It is because they provide minor support to people who combat mobility aids on a regular basis. However, walking canes are mostly regarded as mobility aids, if experts are to be believed, the reason being the significant support they offer to the users who battle joint pains. Moreover, many times the cane becomes the user’s walking help or companion.

5. The user’s body positioning:

The positioning of these moving aids offers another significant difference. For example, the users who frequently use walking sticks hold them in front of their bodies. In the case of walking cane, the users often hold them in hand to the side of the body, implying the opposite hand of the affected leg.

Also Read: Know Everything About Walking Canes

6. Their Period of Use:

A walking cane is specifically designed for everyday application for a long time period, which is why it is ideal for people who fight joint pains and other body pains frequently. Meanwhile, a walking stick is used for a short time period, and it is exactly why it is considered suitable for people who seek adventures.

These are some of the key differences between the both. Now, how do you decide between them? These are some of the key factors that will help you determine which one you should use:

  • The degree of support and balance a person requires

A walking cane and stick offer different aid; thus, before you buy any mobility aid, make sure you consider its level of assistance and purpose.

  • Whether you want to style or comfort

Style and comfort are two factors that are important while you are considering a mobility device. For example, if you are someone who seeks adventure, you can go for something that offers support and peace of mind. However, if you seek comfort, a walking cane is suited for you.   

  • Taking body weight into consideration

Bodyweight is an essential factor when buying a mobility device as it affects the kind of mobility aid you can use effectively. A walking stick is designed for handling lightweights, whereas a walking cane offer full-body support to its users.


Walking sticks and canes are both useful devices with distinct purposes. And despite most people thinking that they are the same, we have already established that they are not. So, choose accordingly.


Want to buy walking canes for women and men? Derry Hick Sticks is your answer. We are a family-owned enterprise based in County Mayo in the West of Ireland, producing one-piece walking sticks from a diverse range of wood species, including Birch, Alder, Gorse, Hazel, Holly, Ivy, Blackthorn Privet, Hawthorn, and Rhododendron. In addition, we source all the raw materials locally for our sticks, guaranteeing completely handmade Irish. Get in touch with us today by calling at 353 87 653 8126. Alternatively, you can email us at shillelaghs@derryhicksticks.com.