If you are afraid you will never be the same again when you start using your crutches, this article is for you.
I know the feeling of walking around town on crutches with a plain-looking appearance.
What about the stress of clutching the mobility device in your armpits all day?
Yes, it really could be frustrating and annoying. But the good news is that you can make your crutches more comfortable and appealing without disrupting their configuration and function.
You want to see how it works, right? Read on.
Table of Contents
- What are Crutches ?
- Types of Crutches
- DIY Ways to Make Crutches More Comfortable
- Common Injuries from Improper Fittings of Crutches
What are Crutches ?
First, let’s get a proper definition of crutches to ensure we are on the same page.
Crutches are a great mobility aid for knee injuries, sprained ankle, broken leg, broken ankle, and so on. It operates similar to a walking stick and could be used in pairs or singly.
Crutches help transfer the weight from the legs to the upper arms to improve stability when walking.
Take note that you can only use crutches when you have good endurance, strength, or balance. It is not ideal for people with weak physical strength.
Types of Crutches
There are four types of crutches; forearm, underarm, platform, and leg support crutches. The type to use depends on your walking disability and the severity.
Regardless, you can use the same techniques for any type of crutches to make them more comfortable.
DIY Ways to Make Crutches More Comfortable
Although crutches make mobility easy, they have their drawbacks.
The continuous use of crutches could cause pains and discomfort. Here’s how to bypass the pains of constant usage of crutches.
Invest in Cushioning
Cushioning has been the oldest and easiest way of making crutches comfortable. It requires using an improvised cushion to minimize the pain experienced from direct contact with the crutches. Depending on your preference, you can use spare pieces of fabric or buy cushion pads from your local store.
Small pillows, old blankets, or towels are great items for cushioning your crutches. If you are doing the job yourself using any of the materials mentioned, you will find enough information on these below.
But if you intend to buy an already-made cushion pad, you may want to jump ahead to the second section on how to make crutches more comfortable.
Related: How to Build a Beach Wheelchair
Cut out equal sizes of fabric from the material of your choice. It could be an old towel or a blanket. But ensure your cutting is even and corresponds with the size of the grip areas and other areas you intend to add the cushioning.
Roll the cut-out fabrics into loose rolls wider than the top base of the crutches. Then, use tape to secure each roll to the top of the crutches. Do this gently to prevent the fabric from moving from its original position.
Repeat the same process for the grip areas.
You can get a commercial crutch pad online or at the pharmacy. They are available in different colors, fabrics, patterns, and sizes to meet your need.
Adjust Your Crutches
After cushioning your crutches, you could still feel discomfort if not properly adjusted. Allow me to explain. Now and then, you will need different crutch heights to fit into your activities. So it’s not about buying the perfect crutches but being able to adjust them when needed.
The odds are that you will feel pain when you cannot adjust your crutch height at a specific time. Proper fitting crutches should not dig into your armpits. Otherwise, you will feel discomfort. A too-short crutch will make your backache, and too long will dig into your armpit.
When buying your crutches, you should mention or check your height to ensure you get the crutches ideal for your height range.
Note: Adjusting your crutches for comfortability goes beyond the crutch height and the grips. After adjusting your crutch height, you may want to check if your elbows are straight and if your wrists align with your hips.
All you need to do to adjust your crutches is to position the foot of the crutch to a few inches adjacent to your feet. And the crutches should be 2 inches below your armpits. Doing this requires your elbows, wrist, and grips to fit accordingly.
An improper crutch height will cause many underlying conditions like irritated skin, nerve damage, fall, and muscle pain.
Common Injuries from Improper Fittings of Crutches
Injuries and discomfort are associated with improper fittings of the crutches. So, let’s dig a little deeper to see some of the consequences of having ill-fitting crutches.
Muscle pain is one of the many discomforts you will get from using crutches. This pain will occur around your arms, shoulders, elbows, and back areas. The truth is that you will use more muscles with crutches than you will use when walking naturally, explaining why muscle pain is inevitable.
But the silver lining is that cushioning can help you manage the muscles pain that comes with continual using the crutches. Follow the steps mentioned above to add cushioning to your crutches to make them more comfortable. Also, ensure that you take painkillers when you start using your crutches in the first few days.
Injuries from Falling
If your crutches do not fit properly, they may suddenly slip from under your armpits. And when this happens, you are likely to fall and sustain injuries. Such incidence is a big risk, so try as much as possible to avoid it by using the right crutch height.
You can also prevent injuries from falling when you use your crutches with care, especially when you are walking on the stairs, an icy or slippery surface.
Crutch paralysis comes from damaged nerved when using crutches. Yes, you heard that right, and this is why you should make your crutches more comfortable when walking. A typical example of crutch paralysis is bruises done to your armpit when using a too-tall crutch.
A too-tall crutch will continue to dig into your armpit, causing bruises and perhaps damaging the nerves ending. And I am sure a damaged nerve is the last thing you want to battle during this journey.