Cane vs Crutches – Which One to Choose

No matter what your specific health issue is, if the disability is ahead of you for a long or short time, you should definitely consider which walking aid is the best alternative for you. These days, the latest innovations and medical progress have offered us lots of models and products to consider. Basically, the top popular walking aids nowadays are wheelchairs, canes, and crutches.

Why cane and crutches are completely different than a wheelchair?

Basically, the cane and the pair of crutches usually come together in both: doctor’s prescription and patient’s mind how to continue his or her ordinary life. Indeed, the wheelchair seems to be the most convenient and less stressful alternative to move around, but it has fewer points of contact when to the cane and crutches when it comes to similar medical conditions.


The wheelchair is more of an idea for a long-lasting or even lifetime usage. It’s also recommended for people with no disability, but temporary severe pain or even necessity of no sudden moves or walking (regarding the fact legs are not injured).

Meanwhile, crutches and canes have been always prescribed after or during a trauma recovery that concerns the leg. It might be whether serious surgery or just a broken leg, ankle and etc.

Canes and crutches, though, are very different when it comes to both: the individual patient’s special needs and his or her level of disability.

The specific intervention and the level of disability might end up with only one of the two disability aids to be suitable for usage. Meanwhile, there are lots of cases when a cane is ideal just like the crutches are.

In all cases, the doctor’s piece of advice is the top must you should think about when going to the mobility aid store. However, when there’s an option for a choice and you are the one to make the final decision, the dilemma is almost guaranteed.

And here’s the hot topic of our today’s material comes – which is better to choose: cane or crutches? We would try to answer this question regardless of the fact that the individual medical history is usually the key to your personal answer.

What are the top benefits of using crutches?

It’s tough to name them all, which is why we would like to give you a list of advantages that are basically standard for all medical cases. Find out the most common cons behind the traditional crutches nowadays:

  • Comfortable

They are extremely comfortable to be used. Moreover – some experts claim that a wheelchair might not be that convenient in an emotional aspect like crutches can.

  • Prevention of axillary nerve damage

Prevention of axillary nerve damage or axillary nerve palsy is guaranteed if you use forearm crutches. On the other side, when using underarm crutches you will be at less risk to irritate your skin when walking around for a long time.

  • Stability

Meanwhile, all crutch types are super stable when you have to pass by some uneven surfaces. In many cases, such stability is not possible if you have only your cane with yourself.

  • The right body position

Using crutches does not only give you the ability to walk around when being on a recovery mode but can even improve your temporary posture. In all cases and even if you have no problems with your posture, it’s easier for keeping the right body position on crutches rather than with the cane.

What are the top benefits of using a cane?

On the other side, don’t even try to think that using a cane is everything else, but not comfortable. There are lots of cases when a cane can be safer and twice more convenient than hanging on your big pair of crutches. Speaking of which, you should consider the top benefits of using a cane instead of crutches, as well:

  • No storage issue

There’s no doubt that the storage issue is something you will be worried about in all cases: whether you choose underarm or forearm crutches, including if you prefer the faster wheelchair (including a rollator). You can literally put anywhere you want and by your side the cane.

  • No risk of ankle or knee sprain

If you prefer to use a cane, you will definitely avoid the risk of ankle or knee sprain. There are statistics that in 65% of the wrong application and usage of crutches leads to such a side effect. There’s no possibility to have it if you have already bought a cane.

  • Receive the full body support

Orthopedic specialists meanwhile claim that if you want to receive the full body support and your pain is not so severe when making steps, it’s better to choose the cane rather than crutches or a walker. The walker can cause muscle atrophy, while the crutches can even increase the pain if you are suffering for overweight.

  • Walking up and down the stairs with the cane is easier


Walking up and down the stairs with the cane is 100% easier than doing this ordinary task with the crutches. There are lots of negative consequences of taking the stairs on your first day on crutches. The possibility to get injured on a cane when being on the stairs is very small.

Are there any concrete cases when the cane or the crutches are 100% medically recommended?

As a matter of fact, there are such cases. Today’s advances in medicine are basically due not only to the latest innovations in the field but mostly in the availability of experiments and studies that take place in every field. There are lots of such studies that show what’s better to choose – the cane or crutches.

Medical experts claim that the cane is 100% better in two cases:

1. When the patient is senior. In this case, it’s even not ok at all to use crutches.
2. The second case is when the injury is very light and does not cost you so much pain. Usually, the duration of the recovery does not last more than half a year.

Medical experts also believe that there are cases when crutches are must and the cane is not ok at all:

1. In the case of leg surgery and overweight, it is not ok to use a cane at all.
. The crutches are by all means important if there is more than one intervention (including in the cases when one of the legs is healthy, but there’s some rib damage or hand discomfort).
3. Crutches are better for long-lasting recovery, as well as for children.

Comparing the cons of using a cane or a crutch?

It’s ok to know the advantages of each mobility aid. However, in addition to these, it’s also on mandatory to be familiar with the cons behind the cane or crutches. Let’s make a quick comparison to finish this dilemma: which one to choose, the cane or the crutches:

1. Most of today’s standard canes simply cannot stand balanced and supporting you in the best way on uneven surfaces.
2. Crutches are very tough to get used to them. There’s no doubt that the first days are total nightmares for the patient, especially if bothered by severe pain.
3. Every 2 in 5 cane users have slipped down, while it’s very rare for the crutches users to slip if being used to the right practice.

4. Crutches come with lots of additional extras to add and in many cases, they are a must but purchased separately. Eventually, the cane becomes less expensive than the crutches, although almost similar to the crutches regarding the convenience.


Now, it’s totally up to you which one to use: the cane or crutches. The ideal situation is getting advised by your therapist and if having some right to select whatever you want, test both of the mobility aids. Every case and trauma is individual and sometimes, the most convenient cane is worse than the worst model of crutches. And vice versa!

We would like to remind that this material was not written by a real doctor or medical specialist. It has only an information goal and we strongly recommend you to discuss any issue or decision to make regarding your recovery and mobility aid choice with a specialist.

Do not hesitate to contact us to share your personal experience with any of the mobility aids we have discussed in this material. And do not even try to be shy to reach us if you have some questions to ask! We would be happy to help you with more information and tips to consider!

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