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What Is the Difference Between a Cane and a Walking Stick?

Friday, 3 January 2020  |  Olivia

"Walking stick" and "walking cane" are often used interchangeably, and in some contexts they may mean the same thing. However there are also many situations in which they have distinct meanings, which it can be important to be clear on. 

What's the Difference Between a Cane and a Walking Stick? 

There are several common distinctions between canes and walking sticks. Essentially a cane refers to a mobility aid, whereas a walking stick is for more recreational purposes. The table below shows some further details. 

Walking Cane Walking Stick
Designed to regularly take your full weight Designed to be used temporarily
Usually held in the hand to the side of the body Usually held in front of the body
Ergonomic, comfortable handles Often feature novelty handles
Used in an everyday context as a mobility aid Can be used as a fashion accessory or to aid with hiking

Can I Use a Walking Stick Instead of a Cane? 

If you need everyday support while walking then you need to use a cane. They are made out of strong materials so that even if you put your full weight on them they will not break, and they are specially designed not to put undue stress on the body. If you are looking for something to assist you while hiking, or add a final touch to your outfit, then you can use a walking stick.  

Walking Canes

Right-Handed Adjustable Relax-Grip Marbled Cream Orthopaedic Walking Cane

Right-Handed Adjustable Relax-Grip Marbled Cream Orthopaedic Walking Cane

The Right-Handed Adjustable Relax-Grip Marbled Cream Orthopaedic Walking Cane is a perfect example of a mobility aid, with a lightweight aluminium shaft and a relax-grip handle. The handle spreads your weight, meaning that it does not grow uncomfortable to hold over long periods of time. The height can be adjusted to ensure that you're holding it at exactly the right height. 

Height-Adjustable Offset Purple Cane

Height-Adjustable Offset Purple Cane

The Height-Adjustable Offset Purple Cane features a swan-neck handle, especially designed to take the weight off your wrists and make it easy to rest on your cane for long periods of time. The offset neck centres your weight over the stick, making it easier to get the support you need. 

Walking Sticks

Brown Hare Hardwood Cane

Brown Hare Hardwood Cane

The Brown Hare Hardwood Cane is a beautiful piece of workmanship, ideal for collectors or to be used as an accessory on formal occasions. The hare's head would make this stick uncomfortable to use as a mobility aid, however it also provides a unique flourish to this classic walking stick. 

Natural Chestnut Thumbstick

Natural Chestnut Thumbstick

The Natural Chestnut Thumbstick is ideal for rambling and trekking. The handy thumb groove improves grip over short periods of time, and the metal ferrule improves stability in outdoor terrain. The stick has been harvested from sustainable forests, and only the highest quality woods. 

If you want to see some more examples of sticks and canes, why not peruse our range of mobility aids or country walking sticks

Have any questions, or something to add? You can contact our Customer Care Team at 020 7501 0591, get in touch via helpdesk@walkingsticks.co.uk, or leave us your thoughts in the comments section below!