During the rehabilitation period for injuries or operations on the lower limbs are affected by properly selected aids. Therefore, it is very important to know how to select crutches in order to distribute the load as evenly as possible between the shoulder girdle and hands, and remove it from the lower extremities.
Types of Crutches
There are two types of crutches - elbow and axillary.
- Axillary crutches are very stable and are intended for those who do not have the ability to lean on their legs and move independently. Using axillary crutches, weight from the lower extremities is transferred to the hands and shoulder girdle. Thus, crutches completely unload the leg, so that the patient has the opportunity to walk without leaning on it. Axillary crutches should not be worn for more than 2 years, as this may adversely affect the work of the shoulder joint in the future. In this regard, after the appointed time, the patient must change such aids to the elbow.
- Elbow crutches, or, as they are also called, "canadians", are suitable for those who can hold their weight with their hands and have the ability to lean on the affected leg. The design of this model of crutches involves support on the arm and forearm. Such crutches, unlike axillary, can be worn constantly.
This type of crutches consists of two slats, which are then joined into one. The tip with which the support is equipped is made of durable and non-slip material. So that when walking the armpit is not injured, the upper part of the support is equipped with a special pad. You need to hold the crutch by the cross bar for the brush.
How to choose axillary crutches
How to choose axillary crutches for adult height? The doctor should explain this to the patient in detail before the start of the rehabilitation period.
The main thing you need to pay attention to when choosing is the level of the crossbar and the distance from the tip to the armpit intended for armpits.
The patient should stand up straight after first putting on the shoes that he wears most often. The crutch must be placed at a distance of 20-25 centimeters from the foot. At the same time, the distance from the armpit to the support should not exceed 5 cm. The hand should be placed on the transverse bar, bending it slightly at the elbow, while the angle should be 30 °.
If the patient does not have the opportunity to stand without support, then in this case it is necessary to know how to choose the shoulder crutches in height. To do this, you need to subtract 40 cm from the total height of the patient. But it is also worth remembering that crutches selected in this way will need to be additionally adjusted already to the one who will wear them.
The benefits of axillary crutches
Advantages possessed by axillary stops help the patient to facilitate walking during the rehabilitation period:
- They are stable, which allows the patient to stand quite firmly on his feet and maintain balance. In addition, with the right choice and adjustment, axillary crutches provide ease of movement.
- While walking with such an auxiliary tool, a person has the opportunity to relax by hanging on them and relaxing his hands.
Axillary crutches have only two, but very significant drawbacks:
- In the supports of this design, patients do not have the opportunity to walk for a long time, as well as to climb and descend the stairs.
- Improper adjustment of the crutch can cause the neurovascular channel of the shoulder joint and lymph to be pinched, which can lead to a temporary loss of sensitivity in the hand.
The design consists of a strap, at one end of which there is a special support cuff, in the middle there is a handle that serves as a support for the hand. The crutch tip is made of durable material.
How to choose elbow crutches
How to choose crutches under the elbow? This should be done correctly, only in this way the rehabilitation period will proceed without any complications.
Particular attention when choosing an armrest crutch should be given to the armrest and handle. Crutch must be tried on and walk with it. To do this, put your hand into the cuff and grasp the handle. In the correct position, the arm will be bent at the elbow joint, and the angle should be 20º. In order to once again make sure that the choice is correct, the patient needs to stand next to the crutch, lowering his hands freely, while the level of the handle should fall exactly on the wrist.
To determine the correct level of the armrest, you need to know how to choose crutches by size:
- With growth from 170 to 180 centimeters, the gap between the elbow and the cuff should be 5-8 cm.
- If the patient’s height is more than 180 cm, then the distance from the cuff to the elbow should be exactly 10 centimeters.
Pros when choosing elbow crutches
Before you pick up crutches with support under the elbow, you need to understand the essence of this design, thanks to which walking with crutches is greatly simplified:
- Elbow crutches are quite compact, so they are easy to store and transport if necessary.
- With this design, patients have not only the opportunity to spend long walks in the fresh air, but also climb and descend the stairs.
- It is very convenient to use the elbow crutches as an additional support, but only if the patient can rest on both legs.
Cons of elbow structures
How to choose armrest crutches? There are a number of disadvantages that you need to familiarize yourself with in advance:
- Crutches of this design are not suitable for people with a weak shoulder girdle, if possible, lean only on one leg.
- With the support of such a device, it is difficult to balance and maintain balance, so they are not suitable for elderly and weak people.
- Obese patients should not use crutches with support under the elbow, since the design of such supports may not withstand excess weight.
- Elbow crutches are not used for amputation of one or both lower limbs.
Important aspects to consider when choosing
Before choosing crutches, you need to familiarize yourself with some aspects that will help make the right choice:
- In the case when it is difficult for the patient to maintain balance on crutches, he is recommended to use structures with a pyramidal tip. Such tips are quite durable and more stable.
- Supports on axillary crutches need to be selected soft and comfortable.
- The height of the crossbars on crutches must be adjustable.
- On average, a crutch weighs one and a half kilograms, but for people with excess body weight, reinforced and more stable structures are suitable, but they weigh about 4 kilograms. Such a weight of crutches can lead to rapid fatigue of the patient. In this regard, people with high weight are recommended to use walkers instead of crutches.
- It is advisable for patients with an average weight and physique to acquire crutches that are made of wood or alloy materials.
- If the patient has a need to travel somewhere often, then it is better to use collapsible support structures.
How to learn to walk on crutches
The doctor should tell patients not only how to pick up crutches, but also familiarize them with the basic rules of operation.
Before starting to learn to walk, crutches need to be carefully adjusted. Training is best started on the premises, and only after confidence and stability have appeared, you can go out.
When using axillary crutches, the weight should be distributed on the hands, and not emphasis on the armpits, as in this way they can only be damaged.
Using elbow crutches, it is necessary to ensure that the handle always looks forward, and the support cuff should tightly cover the arm, but not squeeze it.
- If both legs are damaged during walking, a crutch is placed on the ground, and then the leg with it. After the leg is firmly fixed, you need to repeat the same with the second side. This method provides good stability, but the walking speed is very low. If you learn to walk with support immediately on two points, then this can significantly increase the speed of movement. To do this, put the right crutch and the left leg at the same time, then repeat the same with the left crutch and the right limb.
- If only one leg is damaged while walking, you should try to keep your back and head straight, without leaning forward or back. Crutches need to be moved forward simultaneously at a distance of 25-30 centimeters, without forgetting to reject them slightly to the sides. When crutches are firmly fixed on the ground, you need to move all the weight to your hands, thereby throwing the body forward.
- To sit down with crutches correctly, you need to get as close to the seat as possible and turn your back on it. Crutches should be placed on a sore leg, then lean on them and on a healthy limb and sit down with one jerk.
- In order to climb the stairs, crutches should be taken in one hand, and the second hold on to the railing. During lifting, crutches should be placed on the same step on which the legs are located. After that, relying on the handrail and crutches, with one jerk, put the healthy leg one step higher, and only then move the crutches above.
- When lowering the crutches, you need to put a step below the one on which the legs are located and only after that first transfer the sore foot, and then the healthy one. During the descent, crutches must not be lowered lower than one step, as this may cause a person to lose balance and fall. In addition, it is not recommended to move down several steps at once. This can also be fraught with a loss of balance and a fall.
Before picking up crutches, it is necessary to consult a specialist who can give the patient several recommendations for use:
- In the winter season, it is recommended to purchase a special tip with a spike. This will help you move smoothly along slippery roads. However, it is important to remember that in order to maintain balance as much as possible, you need to go slowly and in small steps. In addition, the tips must be regularly inspected and, if necessary, replaced with new ones.
- Before each exit to the street, it is necessary to check the adjustable design of crutches for reliability of fixation.
- If balance cannot be established when using axillary crutches, you can press them closer to your chest.
- For older people, crutches with several points of support are the best option.
Properly selected crutches will help not only successfully pass the rehabilitation period, but also greatly facilitate the patient's life.