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Walking with Crutches

Crutches represent another invaluable mobility aid, and, as with walking sticks, the requirements for walking with crutches will be different for each user. If a user finds themselves on Walking with Crutchescrutches, key considerations include:

Crutch Height

It is essential when using crutches that they are the correct height for the user. They are available with adjustment points both on the shaft and the cuff, to ensure a perfect fit. Some crutches may only be available with an adjustable shaft.

To measure for the correct height line up the handgrips with the wrist bone. The elbow cuff should cradle the forearm just below the elbow joint, so this does not restrict the movement of the elbow when on crutches.

Handles

Standard Right-Angled Handle - Standard style handle, generally ridged on the underside of the handle for comfort.

Anatomical Handle - These are anatomically shaped handles to fit the shape of the hand, allowing the pressure to be more evenly spread across the palm of the hand to improve comfort and grip for the user on crutches.

Crutch Types

Elbow Crutches - Available with 1 or 2 height adjustment points and open or closed cuff styles. The open cuff is semi circular in shape and provides support for the forearm. The closed cuff is an almost incomplete ring preventing the arm from slipping forward out of the cuff.

Axilla Crutches - These are under arm crutches with either a single or double shaft. They are height adjustable between the handle and the under arm pad. It is important to remember not to lean on the under arm pad as this may stop or hinder blood flow, putting pressure on the nerves through the armpit. The pads should be squeezed between the upper arm and the chest wall.

How to use crutches

Crutches are designed to be used in pairs; however, they can be used individually under guidance from a healthcare professional such as a physiotherapist.

The affected leg should stay with the crutches. Move the affected leg forwards with the crutches and then swing the good leg through in a forward motion.

If on steps or stairs, remember to step up with the good leg first and follow with the bad leg and the crutches. When descending the steps or stairs, ensure that the bad leg leads when walking with crutches.