How to use forearm crutches

Forearm crutches, sometimes also called elbow crutches, are a type of mobility device that assist people in walking. The forearm cuffs and handgrips are designed to take some of the weight off of the arms during weight bearing. Learning how to use and adjust forearm crutches properly will ensure that you do not cause yourself further injury or unnecessary muscle strain.

Stand the forearm crutches up against your body to make sure that the overall height of each crutch is appropriate. When standing up straight, the handgrip of each forearm crutch should hit approximately where your wrist bends. A series of spring buttons at the bottom end of the crutches alter the height.

Adjust the placement of the cuff on the forearm crutches before you begin to walk with them. Use the spring buttons on the upper half of each crutch to move the cuffs up or down. The cuff should be approximately 1 to 2 inches below where your elbow bends.

Turn the collar--the lip-type fixture at the end of the lower set of spring buttons--on each crutch. This secures the cuffs so that they will not move around as you walk.

Grab the handgrip of the crutches, one in each hand, while placing the cuffs on each forearm. The cuff is shaped like a U; the open end of the U should face outward.

Consult your doctor about how you should use the forearm crutches in terms of a walking pattern. Some people use the mobility aid to give them support while walking using both legs. Others may need to keep more weight on one foot due to a particular kind of injury. Each person learns from his medical care provider which crutch to put forward first in relation to stepping.

Place some, but not all, of your body's weight on the handgrip as you walk with forearm crutches. The crutches are not designed to withstand a person's full body weight but act as a support.

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