Crutches are used to provide support to anyone with a leg injury or weakened balance. A walker can also help with these problems; however, a walker only provides balance and keeps some of the weight off the lower body. On the other hand, crutches keep all the weight off one leg entirely.
A simple search for crutches on AllegroMedical.com will bring up the universal aluminum crutches, quad canes and forearm crutches. All of these can aid in gait training and balance but in different amounts.
Universal aluminum crutches have a weight capacity ranging from 175-300lbs and are height adjustable in 1” increments. The hand grips can be moved up or down with the help of a bush button or a wing/nut adjustment. They include underarm pads for comfort and tips for traction. When fitting these crutches, first set the height. To do this, the user should be standing straight up, and the arm pad should rest against the rib cage or roughly one to two inches below the armpit. It is important that the pad never presses into the armpit. This could cause pain and pressure on nerves leading to numbness. After the height is set, move to the hand grips. Elbows should be in a slightly bent position when using the crutches. 1
For a cane or quad cane the handle or top of the cane should be even with your wrist when your arm is relaxed. While stabilizing yourself on a chair, relax the arm you will use the cane with. The crease/bend in the wrist should hit the top of the cane and this will allow your elbow to maintain a bend. Remember to use the cane on the opposite side of the body that needs support. This way, when walking, you will be able to stabilize yourself while bringing the injured leg forward. 2
The type and degree of injury which the user suffers affects which type of equipment piece they will use. Remember, crutches require more coordination, balance and support than a cane but both can be used to keep weight off of an injured leg. The above are general guidelines to use when fitting the user but be sure consult a doctor or therapist for specific instructions.
For more than 15 years, AllegroMedical.com has been the leading online distributor of home health and wellness products. Rely on Allegro Medical for all of balance, support, mobility, and other home health supplies.
1Schweizer, Kristin, MPT. “Deal With… Proper Crutch Use.” Caring Today Magazine, LLC. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2013. <http://www.caringtoday.com/deal-with/proper-crutch-use>.
2“How to Use Crutches, Canes, and Walkers -OrthoInfo – AAOS.” OrthoInfo. AAOS, n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2013. <http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00181>.
3“Tips & Advice Center: Crutches.” Justwalkers.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2013. <http://justwalkers.com/crutches-tips>.