When you think of crutches, you probably think of wooden sticks that
open up on the top to a triangular shape. The flat part of the triangle
is padded and rests under the user's armpit. Under the pad
is a grip that the user holds on to. This type of crutch is called
an under-arm crutch and is the most common type in the United States.
If you live in Europe, this is not what comes to mind when you picture
crutches. There are actually three different types of crutches available.
The type that you use will depend largely on what type of injury
you have and possibly where you live.
Under arm, or axillary, crutches are the most common type of crutch
available in the United States. They are used primarily for temporary
disabilities or injuries. In order to use them, you simply place
the pads under your armpits and hold the grip which is below and
parallel to the armpit pad. These have been used for centuries around
the world, but few countries still advocate their use. In fact Europe
began using forearm crutches almost exclusively a few decades ago.
Forearm crutches are used in the United States, but usually only
by people who suffer from permanent disabilities. They are used
by placing your arms in the cuffs and holding onto the available
grips. People who use crutches on a day to day basis greatly prefer
the forearm variety. They are much more comfortable to use because
they do not put the same type of strain on you that traditional
Forearm crutches also require much less energy to use them. Traditional
crutches can be very heavy and the manner in which they are used
forces the user to put a lot of weight on their arms. Forearm crutches,
on the other hand, are light weight and provide for greater mobility.
There are several different gaits that you can use with them. Each
of which is much closer to your natural gait (that you would use
when walking normally). Some of the gaits allow you to move rather
rapidly. It is best to be able to use each of the gaits proficiently.
That way you can switch between them when you become fatigued. You
can also switch between them when you need to move at a faster or
One other type of crutch exists. Platform crutches are the least
common type available. These are used by people who have a poor
handgrip. They are preferred by those with arthritis, cerebral palsy
or other such conditions. With these crutches, you place your arms
on the horizontal arm rests and then they are strapped into place.
Your doctor will be able to advise you as to which type of crutches
you should use and how to use them. If you will need them for any
significant amount of time, you may want to consider using the forearm
version. They will be much more comfortable and cause the least
amount of strain. It may take some work getting used to walking
with these ambulatory aids, but you will quickly get the hang of
We offer a wide selection of everyday crutches to use. They come in the standard wood type or the new aluminum style. Any questions about our crutches call us toll free at 1-888-928-1774. Medical canes are also available.