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Does anyone here use leg braces and crutches instead of a wheelchair?

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    Does anyone here use leg braces and crutches instead of a wheelchair?

    I've recently considered this. If I could just stand up and get around on crutches this would greatly improve my life and lifestyle. Im wondering if there are people who live this way. Im a paraplegic so i have a strong upper body, if I could just get out of this chair my life could change. Im gonna talk to my therapist about this. im wondering if anyone has any experience with this?

    #2
    do you have any abdominal muscles? that is pretty important. I have some, and am weaker on one side than the other. I have weak hip flexors, one both sides, but one side really weak. without them, I would need very high braces. I have not strong theigh muscles, glutes are good now, but not at the beginning. I think that is why I can walk pretty well now, because I remember not having them, and not staying up long. If I had less, falling would be a problem, and likely broken bones. try it. though. it will take some practice, I had crutches on the back of my chair and braces on for a couple of years before I was able to gain enough strength to retire my chair to cat bed. You will find you still need a chair sometimes. I started with joining a Gym with a pool. used floaties and stood. I could not stand at all when leaving the water. I gained strenth below, and used the gimp gym at L.A fitness for about four months bofore I went in with just crutches. working up to recumbant machines, and the bike. saved for two years and worked out four to five days a week until my membership ran out. got a trike, and that really helped me get some calves and theigh muscles.
    Good luck I hope you add updates. Is your injury complete?

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      #3
      i sometimes do. my braces are AFOs.
      i started a thread in the "equipment" section about crutches and several people posted about different brands with links to the brand's websites. it might be helpful to check it out and see the different options.
      mitochondrial disease complex 1 deficiency, suspected HSP
      type 3 ehlers danlos syndrome w/ type 1 overlap, g and j tubes
      aspergers & friends
      survivor of 2 TIA strokes

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        #4
        im a t-6 and im not really sure if my injury is complete or not. my therapist seems to believe i have some core and trunk control. imma talk to them about maybe moving onto crutches and braces...

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          #5
          Just beware that crutches are hard on the shoulders, elbows and wrists, as well as ankles, knees, hips, etc. I use crutches for short distances with the help of AFO's and one knee brace (otherwise my knee locks out). I choose to use the chair for most daily stuff b/c the crutches are so hard on my upper body, and take A LOT of energy that I could be saving by using my chair. Also, when I use my crutches I can't carry anything, so "running" in to starbucks and back out with a drink, making a "quick" trip to the grocery store, etc. is impossible.
          If you choose to use crutches, don't be afraid to use the chair when needed. And don't feel like you are weak for needing to use the chair, or any more "able" or "normal" by using crutches. I found I felt LESS disabled with the chair than I do crutches, but everyone is different and it is a personal choice.
          Good luck,
          Mandy
          ~Mandy~
          SCI as a result of spinal surgery
          TiLite Aero Z!!!

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            #6
            I'd also add that I use a walker most of the time instead of crutches. I can carry stuff in my walker and it provides more stability. The benefits of walking/standing (if you are able) have been listed many times on CareCure.

            Mike
            T12 Incomplete - Walking with Crutches, Injured in Oct 2003

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              #7
              Eric,
              I am a strong upper body T-10 complete. I have a set and they are very hard to use. If you have it in your mind to use them like I did , then get a set. They are expensive unless you can get insurance to pay for them. If insurance will, get a pair anyway. You can stand up on them like a standing frame but it was very tuff for me with no hip action. You use your upper body to swing the legs back and forth. Anyway good luck.
              Best Regards,
              Joe

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                #8
                I'm a T5 incomplete and have weak hips, some trunk instability and scoliosis. Most of the time I use a chair. Still I use KAFOs with a TSLO attached. I find that a walker is better in my case but I have used crutches. I use them mostly at home but I have gone out in public with them. It's a slow go in my case but it’s good exercise. I think of walking in braces as my “sport” (yeah, pretty pathetic). My braces do work as sort of a standing frame if I lean against something. I‘m told I have good upper body strength but I think that comes from being 6’ 1” tall but only weighing 132 pounds and pushing myself around in a chair for so long.
                Personally I really like using braces. I just wish I had better strength and could use them more often.

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                  #9
                  walking with cane and forearm crutches

                  I saw you are interested in finding out about users of crutches. I shattered my L-2 six years ago. Although originally diagnosed as complete, and had absolutely nothing below my hips, i am now walking with a cane and also just bought a pair of crutches called SideStix. I have some gluts/hamstrings and quads,but nothing below the knee. I use AFO's on both legs. The interesting thing with these crutches is the different adaptors you can purchase or not purchase (depending on the terrain you would like to use them on). There are adaptors for snow, sand, rocks, etc. They have shock absorbers also.
                  I have a old shoulder and knee injury that are both being dealt with right now, so have not been able to put my new crutches to their full potential, but it would be worth watching people use them on their website. Pretty incredible.
                  Last edited by springville girl; 15 Nov 2010, 3:42 PM. Reason: spelling

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                    #10
                    Here is a link to my wife's blog. Has some pics and videos of her AFO"s and KAFO's. She's just had them since late summer.

                    http://marilynbscirecovery.blogspot.com/

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                      #11
                      I use the forearm crutches with one AFO. I am an incomplete L1 burst fracture, no sensation from the waist down, but fortunately fair motor ability in one leg and not much in the other. I am fused from T11 to the pelvis. I still use a wheelchair during the day at home to recover and get my hands free. I think anyone going slow with canes should consider dropping back to forearm crutches with the symmetry it gives your gait and the ability to go farther.
                      I just used crutches to crutch hike around Lake Tahoe on the Tahoe Rim Trail. In the right hand corner you can choose to watch this in HD on youtube.

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                        #12
                        WOW, can you ever move with those SideStix! And without even hunching your shoulders...wow, that's all I can say. Your dog is beautiful!
                        MS with cervical and thoracic cord lesions

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                          #13
                          Damn Arndog, you do get around. I have mobility in both my legs albeit altered, used an AFO and you can walk like 2x as fast as I can, atleast, and my legs can't hold up for very long. I have to save my pennies and get me some of those side stix

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                            #14
                            Sweeet! Love the vid and pooch!
                            My daughter doesn't have that much function but I think she would appreciate seeing your video. She is considering a try at adaptive skiing this winter but because she is a quad, the main thing holding her back is fear of getting cold. I've told her that we will totally wrap you up...even cover your face so you look like a bankrobber. (Maybe I shouldn't have told her the last part...just the "look" every 14-year old girl is going for!)

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                              #15
                              I am a T-11, T-12 incomplete injured in 2007. Started out in a wheelchair, then a walker and now I use forearm crutches everyday. When I go to the grocery store, Walmart, etc., I use their chairs since it's faster but I love my forearms crutches. It took me some time to be able to use them; just don't give up if the doctor says go for it!

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