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How do I Choose the Best Forearm Crutches?

By Jessica Susan Reuter
Updated: May 17, 2024

Forearm crutches are devices that assist in mobility for those who cannot walk or balance normally. The reason the crutches will be used, the size of the patient, and the comfort of fit should all be considered when choosing a proper set. Particular attention should be made to the cuff that goes around the forearms as well as the shaft, which extends from the cuff to the ground.

When choosing a set of forearm crutches, one should always consider the reasons for which they are being used. Most people use crutches for a short period of time, but others use them for longer due to chronic leg, back, or balance problems. Crutches are normally made from aluminum, because it is sturdy enough to give support where needed without being heavy enough to become cumbersome. They are available for both children and adults, and usually require a prescription from a doctor.

There are both adjustable and fixed-length styles of forearm crutches. Adjustable crutches have pins and holes in the shaft and cuff connector that allow the overall length of the crutch to be increased or decreased at will. These types of crutches are good for children who are growing, but they are also useful for adults. Non-adjustable crutches do not have these holes or pins, and the shaft is one solid piece. Both types of crutches are durable and can last for an extended period of time.

Using forearm crutches generally requires some amount of dedication to precisely how the user walks. Ideally, crutches should be used only as an assist, not to support one's entire body weight. It may be easy for the crutches to slip, which would in turn cause the user to slip and possibly sustain injury. The general rule for using crutches is to move a crutch and step with the opposite foot. This is the recommended way to walk with crutches because if one foot or crutch slips, the user's other foot and crutch are firmly planted on the ground, which lessens the risk of falling.

Forearm crutches may require an adjustment period to get used to walking with them, but once this period is over they provide safe, reliable mobility assistance. When choosing crutches, they should be chosen both for fit and durability. In general, a durable aluminum crutch with spring steel cuffs that grip the arm a few inches above the elbow are a safe choice. Crutches should never be so tall that a user walks on tiptoe or so short that the user crouches. The user should be able to walk normally straight, using arms only to employ the crutches as an assist.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon152916 — On Feb 15, 2011

The best forearm crutches that I have used are from Millennial Medical. They have a spring shock absorber in the bottom and a comfortable ergonomic handle.

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