Higginbotham, 34, signed in time to make his debut in the 2-2 draw at promotion rivals Doncaster and played the full 90 minutes.
Blades central defender Neill Collins is expected to be sidelined for the next two months after suffering a triple fracture to his cheekbone in the Boxing Day win over Scunthorpe and boss Danny Wilson has moved swiftly to find a replacement.
Higginbotham, who has not featured for Stoke this season, has recently completed a spell on loan at Ipswich for whom he made 12 appearances.
He began his career at Manchester United, and commanded a seven-figure transfer fee on three occasions when signing for Derby, Southampton and Sunderland. He is currently in his second spell at Stoke.