Forearm crutches?

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JuliaKM27
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 12/26/2006 2:01 AM (GMT -7)   
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?
-What is your biggest complaint about the crutches (if any)?
-What is uncomfortable about the crutches (i.e. shoulder and wrist pain and tension, upper arm cuff rubbing the skin, etc)?
-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)?
-Has the crutches affected your posture?
-Has relying on forearm crutches caused any physical side effects in the upper body?
-How important is adjustability in the crutch?
-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?

Any other info or insight would be greatly appreciated as well! Thanks for your help!

uppitycats
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2135
   Posted 12/26/2006 6:21 AM (GMT -7)   
JuliaKM27 said...
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.

...I am not a doctor, nor health professional, and don't pretend to be one, here.....


JuliaKM27
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 12/26/2006 10:52 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks very much for your reply!
The height adjustment for shoes is something that I had not even thought about! I will definitely take that into consideration.
Are the cuffs on your crutches of the hard plastic type, or the slightly flexible rubber-coated type?

I'm finding that those who have Spina Bifida or MS seem to shop around and find the best-suited pair for them.

I'm trying to come up with a good design that will have maximum comfort (especially to prevent wrist and shoulder problems) and suit a wide range of persons and disabilities. The standard-issue crutches hospitals offer seem to be poorly fitted to a wide range of sizes and the stiff structure seems to cause discomfort and aggrivate hand and wrist arthritis in some patients. It would be nice if there was a low-cost, comfortable crutch with more than one hand-grip option to accomidate more people.
And ofcourse the aluminum pole "stick" part seems like it could be made less sterile looking and more organic and stylish!

uppitycats
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2135
   Posted 12/26/2006 12:00 PM (GMT -7)   
JuliaKM27 said...
Thanks very much for your reply!
The height adjustment for shoes is something that I had not even thought about! I will definitely take that into consideration.
Are the cuffs on your crutches of the hard plastic type, or the slightly flexible rubber-coated type?

I'm finding that those who have Spina Bifida or MS seem to shop around and find the best-suited pair for them.

I'm trying to come up with a good design that will have maximum comfort (especially to prevent wrist and shoulder problems) and suit a wide range of persons and disabilities. The standard-issue crutches hospitals offer seem to be poorly fitted to a wide range of sizes and the stiff structure seems to cause discomfort and aggrivate hand and wrist arthritis in some patients. It would be nice if there was a low-cost, comfortable crutch with more than one hand-grip option to accomidate more people.
And ofcourse the aluminum pole "stick" part seems like it could be made less sterile looking and more organic and stylish!
I should mention that I'm no longer using my forearm crutches as I need a wheelchair full-time...
 
The cuffs on my crutches are the flexible rubber-coated type..and, over time, the rubber cracks and stains. I even had one pair that, when the rubber cracked, the metal underneath rusted, making things evem more unpleasant.
 
And yes, they're making canes now that are colorful and stylish...they ought to be able to do the same with the forearm crutches. Colors, finishes (matte, or shiny, for example)... 
 
How about fur-outside cuffs? (faux fur). Or cuffs in color, easily exchangeable, to suit your wardrobe?  We could have fun with this.. :)
...I am not a doctor, nor health professional, and don't pretend to be one, here.....

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