Since crutches help to transfer weight from your leg to your upper body, you are very likely to have limited upper body freedom, especially if you use underarm or axilla crutches.
Long-term and improper use of crutches can result in an injury to your axillary region.
Also, constant strain on your arms and upper body can cause crutch paralysis – which is a situation whereby the nerves that supply sense and motor function to the arm and hand are compressed as a result of constant pressure from the crutches.
Padding is one of the solutions to this problem (others being resizing, correct usage and holding of the crutches, correct gait, and carefulness). Padding your crutches requires you to use a soft material like foam, cloth, or socks to stuff the top and hand bar of your crutches.
Using socks is a fantastic add-on that can prevent you from having a terrible experience with the crutches, especially if you are using them for a long period.
Table of Contents
- How to Pad Your Crutches with Socks
- How to Pad Your Socks with Other Items
- Benefits of Padding Your Crutches
- Important Tips to Note when Padding Your Crutches
How to Pad Your Crutches with Socks
- Very thick socks
- Duct tape
- Safety pins
Related: How to Make Your Crutches Not Slip
If you are using two thick sock caps for the padding, lay one cap over the top of the crutch and pull it tightly. Tighten the sock cap by using duct tape or safety pins.
If you are using two tube socks for the padding, entwine the two tube socks around each armpit pad/crutch top and tighten them by wrapping duct tape around the top.
How to Pad Your Socks with Other Items
There are many alternatives to how you can pad your crutches if you do not have socks. Below are some of them.
- Soft cloth
- Fleece or light foam
- Duct tape
- Sewing machine (not to worry if you don’t have one, a simple needle and thread would do)
How to Pad Crutches with Towels
It is preferable to use a large-sized face towel or soft dish towels. Before you start, cut a sufficient amount of duct tape into three or two long rectangles that can go around the towel padding on the crutch top.
Fold the towel around the top of the crutch. Make sure that the edges don’t stop on top after folding, but at the side where it would be concealed by the duct tape.
This is to prevent the towel edges from causing discomfort to your armpit region.
After wrapping the towel around the crutch top, take the duct tape and use it to tape the towel over the crutch top till it is firm.
Do the same thing for the other crutch.
How to Pad Crutches with a Soft Cloth
Most people decide to choose beautiful/fancy soft materials to pad their crutches. You can make do with whatever you have at home, depending on your taste and budget.
You also need to get a material to line the soft cloth, preferably fleece, silicone, rubber, foam, or gel (this is not common).
Start by cutting the required size/measurement of the soft cloth and your desired lining that will fit the top of your crutches. Be sure to make the lining a little bit bulky to achieve the softness and comfort aimed at.
Tape the edges of the cloth with a sewing machine or needle and thread. Fold the material and run the machine over one side to close it. Then remove the top of the crutch and insert it into the material so that you can know the exact size of the material to fit the crutch pad and how much to cut off.
Make a mark or note of the measurement and return the top of the crutch. Cut the excess material off and run the edge down with the sewing machine.
Follow the same procedure for the other crutch. Also, remember that you can always use a needle and thread if you don’t have a sewing machine around.
Your final product should have an opening where the crutch top will fit. It will look like a purse except that it is a padded material for the top of your crutch.
How to Pad Crutches with Readymade Crutch Pads
You can purchase cushioning accessories from stores that stock and sell mobility devices and accessories. Some of these cushioning comes with Velcro so that you can easily adjust the padding to suit your taste.
They also come with removable covers. If you need to wash it, simply turn it inside out, remove the foam, and wash the cover.
Un-strap the Velcro and turn the padding a little bit inside out so that you can conveniently wear it on the crutch top. Make it fit and take the hard part of the Velcro over the soft part.
Strap it back tightly and do the same for the other crutch. You can also get handgrip pads.
Most of the readymade paddings appear very smart and will fit on your crutches.
Benefits of Padding Your Crutches
- Padding your crutches makes your crutch experience more comfortable and less tiring
- It beautifies and makes your crutches fashionable as it gives you the ability to design your homemade crutch covers
- Padding your crutches is easy; you will only need a few household items
- It helps to relieve daily discomfort that you experience using the crutches
- It provides additional warmth for you and offers less friction and soreness to your hand and armpit regions
Important Tips to Note when Padding Your Crutches
Avoid leaning on your crutches for too long to avoid injury to your armpit region.
If padding with a towel, take note that a normal bath towel might decrease the appropriate gap between the padded crutch top and your armpit, and this will inevitably cause discomfort to the Axillary region.
However, if you don’t have any other towel options, then endeavor to resize your crutches. You can do this by adjusting the height. Simply locate the silver button and push the button in to either lengthen or shorten it.
You can also adjust the height of the hand pad by unscrewing the wing nut, removing the screw, and adjusting the height to fit accordingly. Then, reattach the screw and the wing nut.
The appropriate height of the hand/grip pad on the crutch should be at your wrist level and the appropriate spacing between your armpit and the top of the crutch padding should be 3 finger spacing.
In addition, the appropriate space between your feet and the base of the crutch should be about 6 inches apart.