Types | Accessories | Using Crutches on Stairs
Over the years you probably saw a person on crutches countless times but never once paused to give it another thought. Now when fate has put you in a place where crutches will be your saving grace, you are surprised how little you know about one of the most common mobility aid. The variety of options and styles available have you looking for an answer to the obvious question - what would be the right crutch for you? Choosing the right crutch makes a big difference to one’s safety and stability. Proper usage and the correct size of the crutches may reduce the risk of falls or further damage to joints.
Acting as a substitute for the injured leg, a crutch broadens the support base to maintain balance and stability. Hence arm strength, posture, coordination, and balance are things that must be factored in before choosing the right crutch. Lower limb injuries, such as ankle sprain, broken ankle, cast care, knee injury, broken foot or toe, etc., usually require a crutch. Crutches are also used by amputees, paralytics, and people with disabilities who have trouble walking. They allow the user an upright posture and help maneuver in places inaccessible to wheelchairs.
Crutches help bear the weight of an individual and therefore, it is important they are custom-fitted. The correct choice and application help minimize complications such as a weakened hand, wrist, and forearm muscle, and underarm nerve damage.
Two of the most common types of crutches are underarm crutches and forearm crutches. The type of injury and recommendation of trained personnel is what helps you choose between the two crutch types.
|Also known as Axillary Crutches||Also known as Elbow Crutches|
Earlier, underarm crutches (or auxiliary crutches) had only pads to support the armpits but today many of these come equipped with shock-absorbing rubber bars that can be comfortably placed under the arm while walking. Underarm crutches are suitable for temporary injuries, disabilities such as ankle sprains and knee injuries or recovery from a surgical procedure. Little training is required to use these crutches and they are inexpensive. Two simple functionalities are height adjustments and hand grip height adjustments. Correct size and fit are highly important as the wrong choice can affect muscles and nerves under the arm.
Things to remember when using a crutch:
For safety purposes, crutches must be measured correctly to avoid falls and injuries
There should be a distance of 2-3 fingers between the crutch pad and the armpit (around 5 cm)
The elbow must be flexed at an angle of 30 degrees and be at par with the top of the pelvis when one holds the handle grip
Bodyweight should be supported by the handgrips and not the underarms to avoid damaging the nerves
Crutch tips should rest approximately 2 inches forward and 6 inches outside the feet to provide proper balance
Forearm crutches have an open cuff that grips around the user's forearm. Also known as elbow crutch or the Lofstr and crutch, they are used by amputees and people with lifelong or permanent disabilities owing to polio or multiple sclerosis. These crutches are easier to use as they offer greater freedom of movement and people can choose to navigate over rough terrains or up and down stairways.
The crutch should be 6inches (15cm) in front of your foot and 2-4 inches (5-10cm) to the side of the foot
The height of the handgrips should be at wrist level
Cuff should be adjusted 1 inch below the elbow
If the height is properly adjusted the elbow will be flexed at 30 degrees when you hold the handgrips
For a first-time user, it is safe to follow instructions from a designated health expert. Research has shown that the wrist receives one to three times the body weight when swinging the crutches while walking, an extra load the upper body was not designed to sustain. Thus when the need arises for using crutches, it is best to transition slowly into a regular routine with crutches to limit the additional stress on the wrists and avoid the risk of injury to another part of the body.
There are a wide range of accessories that can enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of both underarm and forearm crutches. They include:
Crutch tips – Crutch tips are the foundation of your crutches and a faulty tip can result in slips and falls. There are multiple crutch tip options in the form of latex crutch tips, ice crutch attachment, and many more.
Pads and covers – Pads and covers are usually used with underarm crutches where pads and covers such as gel pads, non-latex pads, fleece covers, and cushy gel covers are used to cover the shoulder rest. They offer great comfort and ease of use.
Grips – Grips are an important part of the crutch since a rough and uneasy grip can cause discomfort, rashes, and falls. Sturdy, high-quality grips can help enhance the experience by allowing easy use of the crutches.
Using the stairs with crutches can be a challenging task. Technically, it is safest to go up and down the stair when seated, but many a time it isn’t practical.
Going up the stairs with crutches (when seated):
Going up the stairs with crutches (when standing):
Going down the stairs with crutches (when seated):
Going down the stairs with crutches (when standing):
Whether you need it for a short duration or a longer period, a well-chosen crutch will go a long way in mobility independence and an injury-free life.
Mobility Designed Forearm Comfort Crutch offers a special hands-free crutch designed to provide maximum comfort and mobility support. This Comfort Crutch cradles the elbows to distribute the user's weight evenly and eliminates the pressure placed on the armpits, hands, and wrists by supporting weight through the elbows and forearms.
Guardian Forearm Crutches provide stability as well as independence for those requiring assistance in ambulation on a long-term basis. The telescoping parts are manufactured with internal bushings and external lock nuts to provide totally silent usage. The heavy-wall, high-strength aluminum tubing and black components hide signs of wear and scratches. This forearm crutch molds to the user for extra comfort and its black components hide signs of wear and scratches.
The Drive Aluminum Crutches are perfect for those wanting stability and durability. A double extruded center tube provides additional strength to the weight-bearing area. The push-pin adjustment makes it easy to adjust crutch height in one-inch increments and non-skid, jumbo size vinyl contoured tips provide excellent traction. Additionally, the Aluminum Crutches by Drive are comfortable and lightweight, with a weighing capacity of 350 lbs and easy wing nut adjustments for hand grips. Moreover, the underarm crutches come with height settings of 31" - 40", which can be further adjusted easily.
Ergoactives Ergobaum 7G Royal Ergonomic Forearm Crutches are comfortable, fully adjustable which are designed to make users' lives easier during recovery while providing safety and reducing any secondary injury commonly caused by conventional crutches. The new patented proven technology and extra features facilitate and enhance the use of crutches. It comes equipped with Ergocap high-performance tips (0.6 lbs per tip compared to 0.3 lbs per ergocap ltralite). The Ergoactives Ergobaum Crutches are designed to provide a comfortable gait on crutches while reducing secondary injuries associated with crutch use.
The Steel Forearm Crutches by Drive Medical features vinyl-coated, ergonomically contoured arm cuffs molded for comfort and stability. The leg and forearm sections adjust independently for optimal sizing. These crutches come with extra-large tips for added strength and an ortho K handle made of hard plastic. Vinyl hand grips are comfortable and durable. Additionally, the crutches can support up to 300 lbs with utmost ease.
Millennial In-Motion Forearm Crutches feature V design opening cuffs that allow easy entry and hands-free use. The patented spring assist technology absorbs negative impact energy and returns positive kinetic energy to aid patient ambulation. They increase comfort by reducing stress, fatigue, and soreness. It is ergonomically designed handles keep wrists and hands in a natural position to decrease the pressure on wrists for increased comfort.
Ergoactives Ergobaum Ergonomic Crutches For Kids and Junior Adults were introduced to improve the quality of life of patients who require medical assistive products to support the users daily lives. These speed the recovery process while reducing secondary injuries associated with the use of conventional crutches and provide the user with a cushioned ride, shock absorption and return energy through the normal gait. Ergoactives Ergobaum Ergonomic Crutches For Kids and Junior Adults features a series of innovative add-ons to facilitate and enhance the use of crutches, improving the comfort, safety, and quality of life of each user
The Days Standard Aluminum Crutches are lightweight with a push-button for height adjustment. Lightweight crutches are easily transported and are ideal for both children and adults. These comfortable and durable crutches are suitable for keeping the weight off of an injured foot, ankle, knee, or leg. These crutches are designed for use at home or in clinical use.
ConvaQuip Bariatric Underarm Crutch is constructed out of aluminum and with the tube in a tube feature for extra strength. It has a broad ten-inch range from the lowest to the tallest setting in two-inch increments. The handgrips can be adjusted to four different settings. These settings will range in two-inch increments from lowest to highest.
Ergobaum Dual Ergonomic Underarm Crutches With Arm Support is a double function shock absorber underarm crutch. It is designed to facilitate the use of crutches, reducing secondary injuries associated with underarm crutches while providing comfort during short, or long term use. The Ergobaum Dual is the only crutch that allows the user to walk with a 7-degree underarm axillar internal rotation with respect to the grip.
At HPFY, we have a wide range of premium crutches that help for excellent support during mobility and help you easily maneuver in all kinds of spaces and environments. Health Products For You is online since 2002 to cater to its varied global clientele successfully. Shop with us and get exclusive discounts on all that you buy. Explore now!
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Taikhum Sadiq has been a Health Products For You contributor since 2016.
He is an archaeology student and is passionate about learning about the past and how it impacts our future. He believes ...
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