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Thread: Questions for crutch walkers....

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Bonnette View Post
    Something else your dad might want to consider are Arbin Quickstep crutches. Fetterman is the US distributor for these versatile and sturdy Norwegian crutches. They are listed on Fetterman's site as travel crutches because they are collapsible, but they are much more than that. Saranoya has written a couple of posts about how pleased she is with her Arbin Quicksteps, as they are extremely stable and the entire design is ergonomic (they also have ergonomic grips, and Fetterman puts Tornado tips on them). Arbin's original website has more pictures and info about them.

    Thank you Bonette for all of your very useful ideas and recommendations.

    We have wondered about such "travel" crutches in the past. It would be really convenient to have a pair, especially if you traveling with a wheelchair or walker as well etc.. My father's concern has always been the stability.... He is a big man - over 6' 1" and he has recently gained quite a bit a weight... and he pounds his crutches! So any crutch that is not really sturdy is a concern, and we are starting to wonder if a crutch with a weight limit of 250 lbs might be a little risky.

    My Dad has been scanning the web and it seems like there are more options for crutches then when we first bought his 4 years ago. He is finding some brands I am not familiar with that have shock absorption in the crutch itself (!), and he was questioning whether the ergonomic hand grips were necessary...... He's also had a rough time with his Walk Easy cuffs, which get stretched out from falls and regular use and clearly need to be replaced much more frequently. Wonder if the Federman cuffs are a much more sturdy construction.

    So thanks for posts everyone. I would love to hear more stories about the pros/cons of the crutches you use and what you have learned, and what is your ideal.... And how often you replace your crutches (and how you decide when to...)?
    Last edited by hlh; 05-12-2012 at 12:46 AM.

  2. #12
    Yes, that 250 lb weight limit can be a problem. I know that one member here was very unhappy with WalkEasy because a pair buckled under him (and he was actually below the weight limit) - customer service was not very responsive, either.

    I bought a pair of crutches through Amazon several years ago - they had shock absorbers built into the tips (as you describe) and they were quite well made, with ergonomic grips, but very heavy. Since your dad is over 6', he might not mind a heavier crutch and the shock absorbers could certainly be a plus.

    Well, I know you have a lot to think about and many options to consider - best wishes on finding the best equipment to meet your dad's needs.

  3. #13
    HLH - I am the master of overuse of crutches having crutch walked/hiked around Lake Tahoe 165 miles on the Tahoe Rim Trail over a summer with some days being 21 miles and 4000 ft of climbing, Ugh.
    If there is a way to overdo anything , sign me up !
    So I have done some 11 hours continuous crutch walking both with Fetterman with Tornado tips and then with Sidestix crutches with a shock absorber and, more importantly, a handgrip that is borrowed from the mountain bike world called "Ergo Grips" and placed on the grip tube. It is the best grip I have found and my hand issues went away. Please check out the "Ergo Grips" on the SideStix crutches. There is a right grip and a left grip. I would rotate the grip medially to eliminate all extension of the wrist and have it in neutral which helps to not stretch the median nerve. This aligns the radius and ulna with the metacarpal bones to a parallel line.

    The next super critical thing to do is- to get padded cycling gloves. There are some gloves that are padded in the thenar and hypothenar regions which then take the pressure off the median nerve and the general cushioning and support of the leather glove helps.

    The third thing to do is to learn a technique that includes hand relaxation between placing body weight on them, release the grip as much as possible to bring blood back to the tissues.

    So my hands are okay but I beat my elbows up bad from all that long distance crutch hiking. I have some sort of nagging lateral epicondylitis symptoms that won't go away. I have backed off on the crutch walking quite a bit of late. But my hands are okay.

    I hope this helps. Oh, the reason I am writing late is I just now am coming home from seeing David Shiffrin (clarinetist) play with some Reno musicians, Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time. Second time experiencing it live. Mr Shiffrin OWNS that piece. He could have at least made it look like it was hard. It seemed effortless. I don't think I have ever seen someone so good at their instrument. They also played Beethoven's clarinet trio and Debussy's Cello Sonata. All in all, a great evening that I know you would have enjoyed in our little cow town. Sorry for changing the subject but how many people really love classical music?

  4. #14
    I have custom titanium Fetterman crutches which I found on my own and purchased over 10 years ago while still at Craig Rehab Hospital. They have been great to me. My wife ran one over with her car - it was fine. I know I am not greater than 200 lbs, or 150 lbs, but I am sure that my wife's car is ! So they are sturdy. One thing I have not tried is to measure the diameter of the grip tube and compare it to the SideStix to see if I could get a pair of these incredible Ergo Grips to go on the Fettermans. Maybe I will do that soon. The shock absorber in the SideStix is a flexible polymer built into the down tube just under the grip. It is subtle but works really well and it is made of billeted aluminum - with different polymer inserts depending on your weight. So if you were over 200 lbs, they have a stiffer polymer for that. I use the medium polymer ( I think). These come apart and break into 2 pieces just under the grip so you could pack them or put them into a bag for a wheelchair. It requires a 4 mm allen key which really is not a big deal as long as your hands function well. I have beat these up climbing talus rocks hiking around Tahoe and they are sturdy. Personally, adjustable crutches with those little buttons and aluminum tubing - don't work for me. Why? Because the holes will ovalize and then start clacking and rattling. If you weigh more than Mr. sub 150 and closer to 200 lbs, you will start to ovalize those holes fast and clack around. I like noiseless crutches made solidly like the Fettermans and the SideStix. I don't plan on growing anytime soon, ( but maybe I am shrinking slowly ! )

    Good luck

  5. #15
    The Arbin Quickstep crutches are extremely sturdy. They are oval in cross section (ie, thicker), and weigh 800 g apiece (almost twice as much as the WalkEasy 461s). I ordered them from Fetterman to try them out, and wound up returning them mostly because of the weight issue.

    I wouldn't think of them as "travel crutches", I'd think of them as collapsible crutches. The cuffs are also very sturdy, as they are designed so that you can stand the crutches up on the cuffs (upside down). Again, I didn't like that as I prefer the more flexible cuff for when I'm doing other things (arms stretched out), but they might be just the ticket for your dad.

    The QuickSteps also have holes for adjusting the height, but they are square, so I suspect they will not hog out like the WalkEasys eventually will.

  6. #16
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  7. #17
    Thanks Arndog for all of your amazing info. We will look at the Ergo grips, and my Dad definitely needs a new pair of gloves. Good thought. He is still wearing the same pair he got in rehab almost 5 years ago and they are barely intact!! He has also started to develop some intermittent elbow pain, and now I realize it is probably related to his crutches as well. So we need to work on this....

    Thanks Katja for the additional info on Arbin crutches. That's interesting you found them heavy. We were wondering how critical it is to keep them light. That was one reason my Dad was hesitant to try a bariatric crutch (which could utilize the larger tip) - if it was just too heavy.

    Now I realize why we "hear" my father so clearly walking down the hallway. The rattle of the crutch button in those adjustable holes.... I wonder if my father even notices? For us, it is kind of a nice sound.... we know he's coming. But I can see how some of you would rather be silent. It is useful, because then we "hear" whenever he has a mis-step/stumble.... the metronome skips...

    How I wish there was a place you could go and just try all the different crutches out.... Since some of these crutches are quite pricey, it would nice.

    Arndog, I am very jealous of your great chamber music opportunities. Who knew that Reno was such a classical music stomping ground? I didn't know that Quartet for the End of Time was Shiffrin's.... that must have been something to see. I don't think I've ever heard that masterpiece performed professionally, although it is one of my favorites.

  8. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by hlh View Post
    How I wish there was a place you could go and just try all the different crutches out.... Since some of these crutches are quite pricey, it would nice.
    Fetterman's were really good about letting me try them and return them. I didn't take them outside. I did have to pay return shipping.

  9. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Katja View Post
    The Arbin Quickstep crutches are extremely sturdy. They are oval in cross section (ie, thicker), and weigh 800 g apiece (almost twice as much as the WalkEasy 461s). I ordered them from Fetterman to try them out, and wound up returning them mostly because of the weight issue.
    ...plus Tornado tips are pretty hefty in and of themselves, and Fetterman replaces the Arbin Quickstep tips with Tornados. The Fetterman tips add heft to my WalkEasies, but since they're such lightweight crutches to begin with, it's not a problem - I can see how Quicksteps plus Tornado tips would be quite a heavy proposition!

    I was very tempted to get a pair of SideStix awhile back, but have only one functional hand and couldn't break them down and do maintenance. They might, indeed, be just the thing for your dad, hlh.

  10. #20
    Bonnette makes a very good point about Fetterman Tornado Tips being hefty. Yes they are great tips but there is a price - and that is weight.
    There are 2 weights -
    1. total weight
    2. swing weight
    The Tornado tips really increase the swing weight and I would contend that that is what a crutch user will feel. More than the total weight. I have thought about this a lot because the SideStixs total weight is not particularly light so I wondered why they are so comfortable. I think that with the light tips that they come with the swing weight is low and I perceive them as light. Plus, you don't actually light crutches much. Maybe you engage your trapezius muscle a bit and fire the bicep a bit to raise them 2 inches max to clear the ground, but the main movement is swinging them , hence the perception that swing weight is critical. So the SideStix with the carbon fiber tube and their light tip "feels" light although total weight isn't really. (5 lbs/pair).

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