Most people immobilized by injury or disorder would choose almost any other mobility aid than a crutch. Hospitals dispensing crutches find that while patients take to wheelchairs, canes, and walkers fairly quickly, it’s the crutches that pose a problem. Considering that there are many methods of using crutches, it’s no wonder that health care facilities must first fit the patient with crutches and then provide lessons on how to walk with them. Not only that, crutches chafe the skin on hands, underarms, and elsewhere, producing painful welts and abrasions.
Simply put, crutches are uncomfortable–at least in their just-dispensed form. That’s why a person would be crazy not to take advantage of reasonably priced crutch accessories to ease the way.
What is the number one body area that gets the most pressure, friction, and shock when using crutches? You guessed it: the underarms. Most of the carrying weight is concentrated on the underarms, producing inflammation and abrasions for crutch-users. Body lotion and talcum power are two ways to reduce friction, but why not take steps to reduce the pain altogether?
One of the best innovations in recent years is glycerin-based gel–you’ve seen this in countless places, from computer mouse pads to bicycle seats. Now this soft, squishy gel has been adapted to medical applications including comfortable crutch arm pads. Slip on one, or a pair, and get instant relief from crutch pressure on the underarms.
Users of forearm crutches haven’t been forgotten. While there is no underarm pressure with forearm crutches, friction is focused on the lower arm region. Pillowy gel-based pads for forearm crutches provide cooling relief and let forearm crutch users get mobile again with maximum comfort.
Second to the underarms, pressure on the hands is the next biggest complaint. The hand-grip on crutches is not there merely to keep the patient from dropping the crutch: it carries weight, too. And crutch carrying weight is not static; it is dynamic and variable. Weight alternates between the underarms and the hands to different degrees. A variety of cloth and gel-based hand pads help to absorb much of the shock associated with hand-grip pressure.
If you live in colder areas, you know that it’s nearly impossible to walk with crutches in snow and ice. It’s hard enough to walk with two feet–not to mention an extra third or fourth foot! Most crutch tips are designed only for optimal conditions, such as dry, flat pavement. A great gadget that screws right on in seconds is crutch ice cleats. The best thing about crutch ice cleats–they don’t have to be unscrewed after you enter dry surfaces. Just flip them up and it’s safe to walk inside without scratching floors.