While they often seem to be interchangeable words, walking sticks and walking canes are actually two very different types of product with different uses. Many people get them mixed up, but if you read on, you will be one of the elite few who know the difference between walking sticks and canes.
The main difference, of course, is function. Walking canes are designed to take weight on a regular basis. If you need support while walking, and you want to be able to lean your full weight on a walking aid, it is important that you use a walking cane. Canes are most often made of wood, aluminum, or steel. They are meant to take constant weight, and are designed to be comfortable and practical for daily use. Many fold down to less than a third of their normal height, making them convenient to tuck into a purse or bag. While they can have exciting colors and patterns, most walking canes feature simple construction and handles designed for comfortable use.
Walking sticks, on the other hand, are mainly items of fashion. They are often not designed to take any weight at all, as they are little more than accessories. They can be made from a wide variety of materials, and their handles can get very elaborate- and uncomfortable! Trying to put your weight on a knob handle could result in severe discomfort or pain in your hand and wrist. Be careful when using a walking stick, and be aware that they truly are accessories rather than walking canes.
So there you have it; the difference between walking sticks and canes is one of form vs. function, of style vs. practicality. Don’t be fooled into thinking a walking stick can serve as a mobility aid- they may be flashy and attractive, but a strong, solid, comfortable cane will last longer and provide greater comfort. And in the end, that safety is far more important than a walking stick handle shaped like a duck.