Hi, I am a design student interested in designing more comfortable and attractive forearm crutches for adults and children. I would greatly appreciate it if anyone who uses or has used forearm crutches could answer some of my questions!
-How long have you been using forearm crutches?
I used them for several years. I used one for awhile, then both of them, then one again.
-What is your biggest complaint about the crutches (if any)?
The cuffs -- it would be nice if the cuffs were replaceable. I found that the "stick" part of the crutch would be fine, but the cuff would get tattered and beaten up, and sometimes the coating would chip and peel away.
-What is uncomfortable about the crutches (i.e. shoulder and wrist pain and tension, upper arm cuff rubbing the skin, etc)?
I think if they're well-fitted, they're not uncomfortable (right height, right length between cuff and arm, etc.) But what happens too often is that folks will think they're a "one size fits all" thing, buy a pair, and then find them uncomfortable.
-What kinds of difficulty do you have with the crutches (i.e. cumbersome, makes it difficult to hold objects or open doors, heavy, difficult to store, etc)?
They are actually less cumbersome than regular crutches, because they can "cling" to your arm and free up your hands to do things like transactions at a cash register, for instances..
-Has the crutches affected your posture?
Again, if they're fitted right, I found they actually HELPED my posture...I was able to be much more upright, stand straighter, when being supported by them.
-Has relying on forearm crutches caused any physical side effects in the upper body?
Using any sort of crutches..regular, forearm, or for that matter a cane, or manual wheelchair, will cause you to strengthen your upper body (arms, shoulders) if possible. Not everyone has enough strength there, or the ability to maintain strength there, though.
-How important is adjustability in the crutch?
Very important. Adjustments in length are extremely important. Changes need to be made for different types of shoes, or boots in winter; walking barefoot, etc. The shoulder-to-arm length is a one-time setting usually -- but important that it be gotten right.
-How often do crutches need to be replaced? And, is expense a big issue when buying crutches?
-What do you think needs to be improved?
The crutches themselves are pretty indestructible...but the cuffs look pretty ratty on my pair!
Any other info or insight would be greatly appreciated as well! Thanks for your help!
I live in snow and ice country, and was able to find "boots" for my crutches -- they slip over the base, and have a sandpaper base, good for gripping.