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Choosing the right crutches

Following injuries to any part of the leg, crutches are generally recommended to help you regain mobility. Discover the benefits of the different types of crutches to choose the one most suitable for your needs.

Underarm or axillary crutches vs forearm or elbow crutches

There are two main types of crutches: underarm and forearm crutches. Below we unpack the features and benefits of each.

Underarm crutches

Standard underarm crutches are best for short-term use. They’re easy to master and readily available. However, some people might find these underarm crutches uncomfortable to use. As a result of pressure, these crutches can cause pain in the hands, wrists, and underarms. These symptoms can be minimised by adding grips and ensuring you don’t droop your body weight when fatigued. This could compress your axillary nerve and result in shoulder weakness.

Forearm crutches

Forearm crutches have a cuff that goes around your forearm for support. These crutches are typically recommended for long-term use, although they can also be used for short-term injuries.

Sometimes users may need more practice to get used to forearm crutches. In addition, using these crutches require more upper body strength. However, it’s easier to navigate stairs and uneven terrain with forearm crutches. In addition, many users find these crutches more comfortable with fewer reports of back pain.

Benefits of different types of crutches

Underarm crutches

Require less upper body strength
Needs less coordination
Easy to master

Forearm crutches

Encourage better posture
Easier to use on uneven terrain and stairs
More comfortable to use

How to fit crutches

Whichever type of crutch you choose must be adjusted to the proper height to improve mobility and reduce soreness.

Fitting underarm crutches

The patient should stand up straight, and the crutches’ length adjusted to ensure the underarm supports are four to five centimetres below their armpits. In addition, handgrips should be level with the hips. Finally, the user should rest their weight on their hands, not on the underarm supports.

Fitting forearm crutches

The patient should stand up straight, and the crutches’ length adjusted to ensure the forearm cuffs are three to five centimetres below where their elbow bends. In addition, handgrips should be close to where their wrists bend.

Contact Medop CC for details

Get in touch with one of our specialists today to find out more about our mobility products, including wheelchairs, underarm crutches, and forearm crutches.

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