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Forearm Crutches vs Armpit Crutches

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    Forearm Crutches vs Armpit Crutches

    Today I tried forearm crutches and didnt feel too balanced on them. I kept telling the PT i think id have more balance using the armpit crutches-If any spasms throw me off balance, i can 'swing' forward to avoid falling.

    Nope. She insists forearm crutches are what she's going to have me use.

    My question is why?

    How come forearm crutches are preferred?

    #2
    Forearm crutches are suppose to be a step up from arm pit I used them a few times, it was very hard for me to use armpit to be as mobile.
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      #3
      I used armpit ('axial') crutches when I had a broken ankle (pre-SCI) and had to keep weight off that leg. The crutches bore the weight instead. Walking any distance with them was rather tiring since my arms were doing most of the work. I was told that there is also a potential for injury if they are used incorrectly.

      In SCI rehab I used the forearm crutches mostly as balance aids, not to bear weight, so I could walk much further with them. If I needed one arm to use a doorknob or whatever I could sort of dangle the crutch to do so, which was nice.

      The rhythm with them is kind of aesthetic too, sort of like trekking or ski poles

      I'm sure your PT has better answers though ...

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        #4
        Originally posted by rhyang
        I used armpit ('axial') crutches when I had a broken ankle (pre-SCI) and had to keep weight off that leg. The crutches bore the weight instead. Walking any distance with them was rather tiring since my arms were doing most of the work. I was told that there is also a potential for injury if they are used incorrectly.

        In SCI rehab I used the forearm crutches mostly as balance aids, not to bear weight, so I could walk much further with them. If I needed one arm to use a doorknob or whatever I could sort of dangle the crutch to do so, which was nice.

        The rhythm with them is kind of aesthetic too, sort of like trekking or ski poles

        I'm sure your PT has better answers though ...
        i saw some guy at the outpatient facility with armpit crutches (i think he had a sprained ankle or soemthing) and he was eating a sandwich while waiting for his ride. I kept thinking maybe armpit crutches would be easier, you could hold things while you walk around. you cant with forearm crutches. forearm crutches also stand out-ugh.

        maybe its because it was my first day, but i didnt like them much, and found it to be quite confusing (the rhythm)

        on armpit crutches, if you get tired, you can always 'swing' your body, instead of walking.

        i guess i was disappointed she didnt want to go with my suggestion. anybody want to come over and let me use their armpit crutches? i just want to give it a test run.

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          #5
          Originally posted by mr_coffee
          Forearm crutches are suppose to be a step up from arm pit I used them a few times, it was very hard for me to use armpit to be as mobile.
          so forearm crutches are harder?

          see, thats what i was trying to tell her.

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            #6
            Originally posted by Imight
            i saw some guy at the outpatient facility with armpit crutches (i think he had a sprained ankle or soemthing) and he was eating a sandwich while waiting for his ride. I kept thinking maybe armpit crutches would be easier, you could hold things while you walk around. you cant with forearm crutches. forearm crutches also stand out-ugh.

            maybe its because it was my first day, but i didnt like them much, and found it to be quite confusing (the rhythm)

            on armpit crutches, if you get tired, you can always 'swing' your body, instead of walking.

            i guess i was disappointed she didnt want to go with my suggestion. anybody want to come over and let me use their armpit crutches? i just want to give it a test run.
            I hear you ... the rhythm did take a little while to get, but eventually I picked it up.

            Possibly your PT wants you to get better at walking, instead of using a 'crutch' Eventually I started using just one crutch, then a cane, and now I don't need any of the gear, though I carry a cane around just in case sometimes Both pairs of crutches are now sitting unused in my garage ... sounds like you're on your way there ..

            When I was using axial crutches I'd carry stuff in a backpack or a bike messenger bag slung around my shoulder. Same thing works for forearm crutches.

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              #7
              My PTA told me that forearm crutches are much safer to use because you run the risk of jamming the axial crutches too far into your armpits which could cause permant damage to the nerves running through there.

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                #8
                Originally posted by Imight
                so forearm crutches are harder?

                see, thats what i was trying to tell her.
                I think mr_coffee was trying to say that arm pit crutches are harder to use than forearm.
                "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot nothing's going to get better. It's not." - Dr. Seuss

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                  #9
                  I've heard armpit crutches will eventually take a major toll on your elbows. They give you bad posture, and are more literally "crutches" than the forearm version, which force you to stand on your own when not in motion.

                  I remember it being so awkward, learning to use the forearm ones. Keep working, as your core gets stronger it gets much easier. Eventually I was walking with only one. Like all things SCI, it's a steep learning curve. Trust me, it will get easier.
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                    #10
                    Originally posted by Imight
                    Today I tried forearm crutches and didnt feel too balanced on them. I kept telling the PT i think id have more balance using the armpit crutches-If any spasms throw me off balance, i can 'swing' forward to avoid falling.

                    Nope. She insists forearm crutches are what she's going to have me use.

                    My question is why?

                    How come forearm crutches are preferred?
                    They are preferred by the medical establishment because axial crutches CAN cause nerve damage if you walk on them wrong.

                    I've used crutches for decades. Started on axial and still use them. You can do alot more with your hands.
                    I like that. Also you can use your upper body to pull up your lower body when your out in nature. IMO they are better for doing what you want and need to do.

                    Be aware though ANY crutch tip CAN and does hydroplane. Doesn't matter which type they are.
                    Life isn't about getting thru the storm but learning to dance in the rain.

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                      #11
                      Originally posted by betheny
                      I've heard armpit crutches will eventually take a major toll on your elbows. They give you bad posture, and are more literally "crutches" than the forearm version, which force you to stand on your own when not in motion.

                      I remember it being so awkward, learning to use the forearm ones. Keep working, as your core gets stronger it gets much easier. Eventually I was walking with only one. Like all things SCI, it's a steep learning curve. Trust me, it will get easier.
                      I don't see where the elbow toll comes into using underarm crutches. That's a new one to me.
                      And bad posture is bad posture no matter how you motate.

                      Actually with proper height adjustments and placement of the underarm crutch it doesn't even go directly into your armpit unless of course you are using your hands off the crutch.

                      New users jam the top into their armpits and then lean over to keep attached to it. That is the problem with being new to them. They do require arm strength and some trunk strength to use them properly and successfully in most any situation you encounter.

                      For everyday walking the forearm crutches are sufficient..but they don't do well in climbing dirt hills or steep steps and a whole lotta other stuff.
                      Life isn't about getting thru the storm but learning to dance in the rain.

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                        #12
                        Errr, I meant shoulders. Sorry, it's a zoo in my house today. Can't you read what I mean, and not what I say??
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                          #13
                          Originally posted by betheny
                          Errr, I meant shoulders. Sorry, it's a zoo in my house today. Can't you read what I mean, and not what I say??
                          I thought there was something new I didn't know about. LOL. Shoulders will get wear and tear with any walking aid unless your legs are strong. Even a chair will wear out a perfectly good set of shoulders. BUT with long term crutch use you develope muscles that will rival most any body builder in your entire arm. Which if done properly the entire arm shares in the task.

                          I am using my axial crutches today. And hope to use them for many more tomorrows.
                          Life isn't about getting thru the storm but learning to dance in the rain.

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