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Basic guidelines for the use of crutches

Basic guidelines for the use of crutches

There are basically two styles of crutches: axilla (or underarm crutches), and elbow crutches.

As a general rule, axilla crutches are used by people who cannot weight bear through their affected leg and elbow crutches by people who can partially weight bear.

If you are using axilla crutches, do not lean on the underarm pad as this may interrupt the blood flow and put pressure on important nerves that run through the armpit. The pad should be squeezed between the upper arm and chest wall.

Elbow crutches are available with two styles of cuff: open or closed.

Open cuffs are semi-circular in shape (see picture above right). Standard and moulded handgrips are available. Some models are also fixed in height.

Closed elbow cuffs form almost a complete ring around the user's forearm. They are more widely used as they provide greater security and may enable the user to let go of the handgrip to open a door without the crutch falling to the floor.

Regular maintenance of crutches is essential to ensure safety. Checks should be made for signs of wear and tear, particularly at the site of screws and height adjustment mechanisms. All ferrules should be checked regularly and replaced as appropriate.


Some basic guidelines for use are:



To view the crutches we have on Living made easy for walking & standing please click on the image below:

Advice last checked: 08 October 2014 Next check due: 08 October 2017