Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 32

Thread: walking with forearm crutches

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    mercer, wisconsin
    Posts
    152

    walking with forearm crutches

    Does anyone use forearm crutches? I recently started walking with crutches and i have found that they are much more comfortable than using a walker. Somehow i use my arms more with the walker...my hand, arms and shoulders hurt. But when i use the crutches i have less pain. My question is, how can i use them functionally? I mean carry objects, place my crutches safely and not drop them.

    My balance is not the best so i am not ready to switch over totally,but i hope to use them effectively in the future and i would love to hear from others who are using crutches. Any wisdom you are willing to share is welcome.

    Thanks, Chris

  2. #2
    Senior Member Broknwing's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Central Florida
    Posts
    4,742
    Chris-

    What kind/style forearm crutches are you using? I just recently changed from the "euro" style with a wide open cuff to the more traditional style forearm crutches...I used to like the open cuff ones, but I've found that I'm MUCH MUCH more functional with the closed cuff ones b/c they stay on my arms when I go to pick things up, open doors, etc...

    Also, I've found that getting gel pads for my crutches have taken a lot of the pressure off of my hands and make them A LOT more comfortable & the gel pads around the arm cuffs make for a better fit around my arm, helping to keep them from falling off for instances like above... I use the Crutch Mate II arm pads and the Crutch Mate hand pads from the same link... They make a HUGE difference in hand and arm fatigue...

    As far as toting things around? I have yet to figure that out...although I do carry a backpack, so that's helpful...I drink sweet iced tea a LOT and carry that in a drink bottle with a carry strap, I've figured I can just hang that from my crutches if I want to take it with me...I typically have someone with me though if I'm walking, otherwise I'm likely in my chair...I haven't quite gone anywhere with my crutches COMPLETELY solo, YET....that'll hopefully be coming soon....
    'Chelle
    L-1 inc 11/24/03

    "My Give-a-Damn's Busted"......

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    mercer, wisconsin
    Posts
    152
    thanks so much for your quick reply. at this point i'm not sure i can wear a backback or attach things to the crutches because my balance is not the best but those are great suggestions for when i can.

    i have aluminum crutches with a gray plastic open cuff. so far i have not noticed any discomfort from the materials, but like i said i haven't switched over completely.

    btw, i was going to donate the crutches bc i have had them for 3 yrs but before giving them away i thought i would give them one more try. i found i could ambulate pretty safely. i am able to use them at home even when i am alone although i only use them to walk from here to there, not when i have work to do.

    thanks again, chris

  4. #4
    Senior Member Broknwing's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Central Florida
    Posts
    4,742
    I didn't think I could wear a backpack with my crutches until I was going out to dinner/movies with my sis & a friend and I HAD to carry my backpack...I was determined to walk that night so I had to find a way to carry my backpack...It didn't throw off my balance nearly as much as I expected...honestly the biggest problem was that it was falling off my shoulder the entire time(we think we've figured out a solution to that...I'll know next time I go "out")

    Do your forearm crutches look more similar to these ones(but in just grey)?

    or these ones?


    The first pair are the euro style...I originally had those and they don't offer nearly as much support as the second pair...I really liked the euro style originally but have since found that I prefer the support that the standard forearm crutch gives...I've contemplated attaching a drink holder to mine, but I'm not using them nearly universally enough to make it necesary enough...although once I am, it will be a consideration...I ALWAYS have a beverage with me somehow, somewhere and have attached drink holders to my wheelchairs in the past, so to do so to my crutches wouldn't be unresasonable...If I figure that out, I'll let you know....I've got ideas, just nothign put into practice yet...

    Best thing you can do for your balance is practice...the more you walk with them the more comfortable you'll get with them and the more balanced you'll get....It's taken me a long time and I'm still getting there, but I'm geting more confident by the day...
    'Chelle
    L-1 inc 11/24/03

    "My Give-a-Damn's Busted"......

  5. #5
    Hi Chris, Broknwing is right, try to practice as much as you can walking with elbow crutches as your core and balance will get better and stronger without you realizing it. They are also much more functional for outdoors and should be easier on your shoulders as well. I remembered the first time (4 months post sci) when my PT forced me to switch from a walker to elbow crutches. I was like no way. At that time most of the muslce group on my left leg had scores around 3-4 except my hamstring (only 1) but my right leg was flaccid with no movement at all and I was walking with a walker with my weak leg being tied up with a piece of wood for support. When I first tried the elbow cructhes I couldnt even stand straight and my balance was way off. My lower back kept falling backward. I remembered there were at least 4 therapists around me during my first few trials. At first it seemed impossible but after a while it became easier and easier. You do need to be more carefull though as once you are off balance it is harder to catch your balance back as compared to when using a walker. Since your balance is still not very good I suggest that you use the one with a full cuff. I prefer Rebotec as not only they are much lighter, they are also safer as the cuff comes off if you apply enough twisting force on it. The standard allumunium one has the cuff screwed on the crutch so it won't come off and there is a possibilty you might sprain/break your arms if they are twisted awkwardly in the cuffs if you fall.

    Now after around 1.5 years post, I usually walk around my house without assistance but I'm still very much dependent on my two elbow cructhes and an AFO on my weak leg when walking outdoors. I can go almost every where...stairs, hiking, etc. I could even run a bit with them. I normally carry a backpack when I travel. The correct height of the crutches is also important if you have shoulder's pain or you can use those fetterman's crutch tip (mustgetit.com) to reduce the crutch shock. One thing I still havent figured out though is how to place my cructhes and not drop them . Good luck with your recovery.
    Last edited by hendra; 01-31-2008 at 07:06 AM.

  6. #6
    I was using forearm crutches and an AFO for a while, too.

    I liked the crutches more than the walker because they were far more maneuverable and had more tolerance for things like grass, dirt, bumps, divots, etc. that would upset the little wheels on a walker.

    If I just needed to carry smaller things I would strap a fanny pack to my waist (I have several in various sizes actually ) For larger stuff I used a backpack with a sternum strap because I was still in a halo. I was not able to use my over-the-shoulder bike messenger-style bag because the halo eliminated my shoulders but maybe that kind of bag might work ? My outpatient occupational therapist was helpful in figuring some of this stuff out.

  7. #7
    There is a drinkholder that you can strap to your crutches. I use it for my chair and my crutches. I think it was in a Sammons-Preston catalog. Its a metal ring with a velcro strap. Works great. I attach my cell phone case to the holder as well. As for walking, Im trying to work towrads the canes, which are much more agile to use, but darn hard with little balance. Keep working on the crutches, seems you have gotten much stronger since you last tried.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Somewhere in the Rocky Mountains
    Posts
    8,148
    I used forearm crutches the first year or so after my injury. I had crutches like the second ones in Michelle's picture. The more I walked the better my control and balance became until eventually I could walk with just my braces. I have went back to using a cane because I just get more tired now that I am older.

    I used to carry a backpack or a purse with a long strap that could fit over one shoulder. The more weight in the backpack throws my gait off though.

    The reason your shoulders hurt from the walker is because you are transfering your weight from your feet to your shoulders with the walker. With forearm crutches your weight is where it should be on your feet.

    They didnt have cupholders etc back in 1989....I was lucky to have red crutches LOL...

    Good luck in your walking and recovery...
    T12-L2; Burst fracture L1: Incomplete walking with AFO's and cane since 1989

    My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am. ~Author Unknown

  9. #9
    Senior Member Imight's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Philippines
    Posts
    6,535
    when you guys fall/tip over with forearm crutches, do you get up unassisted? or with assistance?

    if unassisted, how does that work? isnt it hard?

  10. #10
    I've splatted a few times with the sticks. Gettn up is really hard, yet as I have gotten stronger, it aint such a big deal. Most folks use something to grab hold of, and slowly lift themselves back up. I know if you dont have good strength in the legs and core, it will be a bear to get up by yourself.

Similar Threads

  1. New Vide of me walking with forearm crutches!
    By mr_coffee in forum Exercise & Recovery
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 05-10-2006, 09:40 PM
  2. Replies: 20
    Last Post: 05-06-2006, 05:54 AM
  3. Elliptical trainer
    By The mom in forum Exercise & Recovery
    Replies: 26
    Last Post: 02-10-2006, 06:17 PM
  4. Walking with forearm crutches is killing my forearms, Video also.
    By mr_coffee in forum Exercise & Recovery
    Replies: 27
    Last Post: 10-07-2005, 01:03 PM
  5. Replies: 3
    Last Post: 05-14-2002, 08:29 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •