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Thread: Questions for crutch walkers....

  1. #1

    Questions for crutch walkers....

    Thought I might catch a few more crutch walkers here...

    1) Have any of you developed carpal tunnel symptoms (ex. hand numbness) when you walk with your crutches? Especially curious for those of you who rely heavily on your crutches/arms for support.

    My father is starting to get hand numbness if he walks for longer distances, and sometimes on the treadmill. It goes away when he stops.

    If so, how did you deal with it?

    2) What is your optimal floor covering in your home?

    Hardwood floors work best for his wheelchair, but carpet/cushion is nicer on the shoulders when walking. What do you use? Do any of you have a tight/low-pile carpet that isn't too restrictive when you are in the wheelchair?

  2. #2
    Senior Member cbdives's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Cocoa Beach, FL
    Crutch tips make all the difference. I use Fetterman's Tornado Tips

  3. #3
    Shock-absorbing, non-skid crutch tips and ergonomic hand grips are really important for maintaining the health of hands and shoulders - maybe look into a pair of Fetterman crutches and/or crutch tips for your father, as they are designed to address the kinds of issues your father is having. I currently use WalkEasy crutches with ergonomic grips (modified with Fetterman tips), but have heard that Fetterman makes sturdier, equally lightweight crutches (albeit more costly).

    I have found Fetterman Tornado Gel Rain Tips (recommended by Arndog in several threads) to be very helpful. Walking on a smooth surface with the Fetterman tips doesn't feel much different from walking on a low-pile carpet, and in fact I feel more secure on a smooth surface because the crutch tips can't get hung up on pile. They might be good to try for your dad, if he doesn't already use them.

    Do your father's crutches have ergonomic hand grips? That would help to equalize the pressure on his palms. I started with ultra-lightweight WalkEasy crutches and loved them, but the non-ergonomic grips were murder on my hands after awhile - when I went to their ergonomic grip design, it made a huge difference.

    Best wishes with finding ways to address your dad's discomfort. I've found that it's a constant process of trial and error to find solutions that work well consistently.

    (Edited to add: After posting, I saw that cbdives also recommends Fetterman crutch tips. They really are great.)

  4. #4
    Yep - all that, but even worse is tennis elbow and shoulder pain for me.......

  5. #5
    Senior Member flying's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Southern Oregon coast
    My hands don't like it ether, might just be part of the program. Maybe one can build up to it, thats my hope anyway. Reminds me of a gymnast on the pommel horse. Seems like gymnasts ware so kind of rest protection?
    T12L1 Incomplete Still here This is the place to be 58 years old

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by flying View Post
    Maybe one can build up to it, thats my hope anyway..Seems like gymnasts ware so kind of rest protection?
    Unfortunately, one does not build up a tolerance where hard handgrips and rigid crutch tips are concerned - instead, those things gradually wear down the joints and put pressure on important nerves. Whenever motion comes up against rigid resistance, the result is friction, wear and tear.

    For the crutch user, ergonomic hand grips are the equivalent of the gymnast's rest protection. It's beneficial to use ergonomic hand grips from the beginning of crutch use, in order to minimize or delay joint and nerve damage. I wish I had fully appreciated those issues from the get-go, but I was focused on cost - for only a few dollars more, my joints would have been able to distribute force more efficiently and I could have felt more comfortable and stable.

  7. #7
    +1 on the Tornado tips.

    I have commercial office carpeting with no pad where I have carpeting. Good for both wheelchair and crutch walking.

  8. #8
    Thanks for all the posts guys!

    My Dad has been using a pair of Walk Easy crutches with ergonomic grips and Tornado tips since the beginning (4 years). I have been amazed that he hasn't already developed shoulder problems when I see the pounding those shoulders take.... It is a testament to the Tornado tip!

    But it is a concern that he can get hand numbness, even with this system. I know part of it is that he has to be very careful about the exact angle of the grips (to keep his wrists from hyper-extending).

    Is anyone using the Fetterman crutches? Which grips are best - the gels? Any comments on the various Fetterman crutch options.... are the expensive ones even worth it? Is anything better (pain to joints, stability, fewer falls?!?) then what we are already using?

    He has spoken with Fetterman a couple times about his tips, and he has the rain and snow tips. Falls are still a big concern.... He asked Fetterman about the tornado tips with the large diameter (could they be more stable?), but they are only compatible with the bariatric crutches.

    So I take it most of you have wood floors in the house (ie. no carpets?)? It does make sense that certain pile carpets could be more unstable. But he does mention when we are walking indoors at the hospital, it feels nicer when we make the long walks along the carpeted floors.

  9. #9
    It sounds like your dad is doing really well overall, probably in large measure because he is already using ergonomic hand grips and Tornado tips. Excellent! I wish I had some Fetterman crutches and am eager to hear what others say about them.

    Our house has a mixture of low-pile carpeting and hardwood/linoleum floors - I much prefer the smooth surfaces, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that I have footdrop and can drag my foot better (when I'm not wearing my KAFO or knee cage) without the grab of carpeting. Your dad's needs might be quite different, in that regard.

  10. #10
    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.

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