Three best crutches
Using crutches may not be fun, but it's infinitely preferable to remaining bedridden for weeks after a serious injury. The rickety wooden crutches of old have now largely been replaced by adjustable aluminum crutches that are sturdier and easier to maneuver. But that doesn't mean that one pair of crutches works as well as the next. Or that what works for someone else will work for you. Here is a short guide to help walk you through the important considerations when choosing crutches.
Considerations when choosing crutches
Types of crutches
The two main types of crutches are underarm (axillary) and forearm. If you've never used crutches before, you might want to try both types to determine which feels more comfortable to you. There are also hands-free crutches for particular types of injuries.
Underarm crutches: These are what most people picture when they think of crutches. These crutches have a padded top that fits underneath your arms and hand grips in the middle of the shaft that you use to move the crutches and propel your body forward.
Forearm crutches: These have cuffs that go around your arms and handles that stick out from the shaft. This type of crutch shifts the weight to your forearms instead of your shoulders and upper arms and so requires less upper body strength to use.
Hands-free crutches: These are less common than the two types mentioned above. A hands-free crutch holds your knee in a bent position and has a metal support that reaches to the ground to help you balance. The advantage of this type of crutch is that you don't need to use your hands to move, but there is a learning curve to using it. These crutches can only be used for lower leg and ankle injuries.
Material: Some crutches are still made of wood, but these generally don't hold up as well over time. Modern crutches are commonly made of aluminum, though some are made of steel to better support heavier users. Carbon fiber crutches are also available for larger users, though they aren't as readily available as steel models.
Adjustability: The crutches should adjust vertically, so you can select the height that is comfortable for you.
Grips: Crutches should have comfortable, nonslip handles and rubber grips on the feet to prevent them from slipping as you move.
Crutch prices: Basic underarm crutches cost between $15 and $45, while forearm crutches are a little more expensive, ranging from $40 to $100. Hands-free crutches cost even more, with the cheapest models starting at around $150.
Q. How do I know what height my crutches should be?
A. There should be approximately 1.5 to 2 inches between your armpit and the top of your crutches, and the handles should fit comfortably in your hands. If you are having problems with your crutches, you should speak to your healthcare provider.
Q. Can I use someone else's crutches?
A. Maybe. As long as the crutches are adjustable, you should be able to use them without any problems. If there's a large height or weight difference between you and the original owner, you might need to purchase different crutches that fit you better.
Crutches we recommend
Best of the best: Millennial Medical In-Motion Pro Crutches
Our take: These heavy-duty crutches provide optimum support and comfort while reducing the impact on your wrists.
What we like: Spring-assist technology to help absorb shock while you move. Adjustable underarm supports. Ergonomically designed handles hold wrists in a natural position.
What we dislike: Some complaints of handles loosening over time.
Best bang for your buck: DMI Push-Button Adjustable Crutches
Our take: These adjustable crutches are affordable and easy to use, but they're not large enough to accommodate taller adults.
What we like: Lightweight crutches can be adjusted to suit adults from 5'2" to 5'10" and users appreciate the sturdy construction. Underarm and hand cushions provide comfortable, nonslip grip.
What we dislike: Adults taller than 5'10" or who weigh more than 250 pounds will need more robust crutches.
Choice 3: iWALK 2.0 Hands-Free Knee Crutch
Our take: Consider this innovative crutch if you're looking for a design that leaves your hands completely free.
What we like: Offers the stability you need for lower leg and ankle injuries while leaving your hands free. Users say it's easier to maneuver over uneven ground than traditional crutches.
What we dislike: Expensive. A bit of a learning curve to master it.
Kailey Fralick is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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