In a glance, using crutches seems like an easy thing to do, until you finally experienced using it.
For first-timers, walking with crutches is uncomfortable at mostThe cause of this discomfort is the lack of knowledge on how to use it properlyIf you’re going to use a pair for a long time, its recommended to learn how to use it properly.
Some of the common discomforts among crutches’ users are sore armpits, shoulder pain, and hand pains. Along with proper usage, users can add attachments to their crutches and make their mobility more comfortable. Here are the things you can do to make crutches more comfortable.
Use handle paddings
Getting sore and painful hands is a common problem that patients need to endure throughout their medication. A remedy for this problem is installing handle paddings. Handle paddings work as a layer of protection that softens the impact when the user puts weight to the handle grips. Some paddings are made with foam for additional comfort. Other materials such as plastic-gel are used for additional friction. You also need to know how to install crutches hand grips or pads.
- Find the right handle paddings for your crutch.
- Remove the auxiliary support (that one part that touches the armpit) and its rubber padding.
- Undo the clip from either side of the handle (usually colored in red) and slide it out of the body.
- Remove the padding and replace it with a new one (sliding out the new padding might require force).
- Put the handle and the auxiliary support back to the body.
- Pat the auxiliary support a few times to make sure it is attached properly.
Armpit cushions and proper crutch handling
One of the common mistakes a first-time crutch user makes is using the armpit as the main support while moving. This means that all of the user’s weight is being handled by the shoulder region, making the armpit sore and painful. This can be remedied by using a cushion under the auxiliary support (or under the armpit). A simple towel or any fabric will do to reduce the discomfort. Wrap the fabric around the auxiliary support and secure it properly.
The proper way to use crutches is by supporting your weight in the handle and not in the auxiliary support. This way, your shoulder, and armpit are not receiving a lot of damages from the impact when using the crutch. The impact is absorbed by your hand. Instead of using the crutch to propel yourself forward, use the “three-point contact” rule. Each time the user takes a step, he or she should have three-point support touching the ground (via uninjured feet and two crutch tips).
Make crutch adjustments
Because of body differences, a patient might have a different experience when using crutches for other patients. Its either too high or too low for the user’s height and weight. If the crutch is too high, the user will not be able to use the grip properly. On the other hand, if the crutches are too low, it results in added back pain, shoulder pain, and neck pain.
Thankfully, adjustable crutches do exist in the market. Users only have to adjust their crutches to fit their needs and avoid buying a new one. A properly-adjusted crutch should have these characteristics:
- Stand straight using your uninjured feet and position your crutch on your side.
- Check if the auxiliary support and the handle are in the right position.
- The handle should be in the level of the hip (along the public region).
- The auxiliary support should not be lower or higher than the elbow crease.
- Adjust your crutch accordingly.
- Slightly bend your elbows while holding the handles.
Take small steps at a time
Using crutches would be a lot more comfortable and safer if you move small steps at a time. Besides being more dangerous, taking bigger strides requires more force. This method can be faster and more time-saving, but the damage in your armpits, shoulders, back, and arms would have more impact. Experts suggest moving your crutches about 1 foot or 30 cm in front of you while moving.
Consider getting other crutch tips
There are different type of crutch tips that come handy in different situations. If the user wants more stability while moving, he or she will be more comfortable in using tips with a wider surface area. Using smaller crutch tips will help if your walking style tends to be on the faster side. Some crutches have a strong slip-resistant tip for slippy surfaces like snow.