Frequently Asked Questions on Crutches


What are the types of crutches available?

Types of crutches:

  • Elbow crutches – These crutches can be adjusted in terms of floor-to-handgrip height and the distance between the cuff and the handgrip in case of double adjustable crutches. Single adjustable elbow crutches allow floor-to-handgrip height adjustment only.
  • Axilla or underarm crutches – These crutches come with a single or double shaft, the height and the distance between the handgrip and the axilla pad are adjustable. Forearm crutches with gutter armrest – These crutches are specially designed for people who need to weight bear through the length of their forearm rather than their hand and wrist.
What are elbow crutches?

These are popular crutches that provide a single or double adjustment. They can be adjusted in terms of floor-to-handgrip height and the distance between the cuff and the handgrip in case of double adjustable crutches. Single adjustable elbow crutches allow floor-to-handgrip height adjustment only. Elbow crutches are available in two styles of cuff: open or closed. An open cuff is semi-circular in shape and provides a support to brace the forearm against in the step-through phase of walking. A closed cuff is an incomplete ring that prevents the forearm from slipping forwards out of place and holds the crutch on the arm. 

How are underarm crutches useful?

Underarm crutches are a great utility for those who cannot use the forearm crutches due to amputation or limited grip strength. These crutches come with a single or double shaft, the height and the distance between the handgrip and the axilla pad can be adjusted.

Who can use forearm crutches with gutter armrest?

Forearm crutches with gutter armrests are designed for people in need of weight bearing through the length of their forearm rather than their hand and wrist like those who experience pain in their hands or people with arthritis. The height of these forearm crutches can be adjusted and they consist of a trough or gutter armrest that supports and spreads the weight through forearms. For added convenience the length and angle of the handgrip can also be adjusted.

What are crutches made of?

The materials used to make crutches must be sturdy in order to efficiently manage the weight of the users. Crutches are mostly made of tough metals, like aluminium or steel-reinforced aluminium for heavy-duty use. Traditionally, some underarm crutches are still made of wood. Some metal crutches can have a coloured paint finish. It is necessary that all crutches are fitted with an appropriate ferrule. The ferrules of metal crutches must incorporate a metal ring so as to prevent the base of the crutch cutting into the rubber of the ferrule.

What are crutches made of?

The materials used to make crutches must be sturdy in order to efficiently manage the weight of the users. Crutches are mostly made of tough metals, like aluminium or steel-reinforced aluminium for heavy-duty use. Traditionally, some underarm crutches are still made of wood. Some metal crutches can have a coloured paint finish. It is necessary that all crutches are fitted with an appropriate ferrule. The ferrules of metal crutches must incorporate a metal ring so as to prevent the base of the crutch cutting into the rubber of the ferrule.

How to determine the correct height of crutches?

The height of the axilla crutches should be measured by standing in an upright position with appropriate supportive footwear. The underarm pad must fit under the armpit with two finger widths space above to ensure that no pressure is applied on the armpit while the crutches are in use. The adjustable handgrip can be set along the upright side of the crutches at a level where the protruding bone at the side of the wrist. The height of elbow crutches can be adjusted according to the user. The measurement is taken by lining up the handgrips with the wrist bone. Some models allow for the adjustment for the elbow cuff, which should cradle the forearm just below the elbow joint so that movement of the elbow is not impeded.