Last updated: August 11, 2021

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Welcome to ReviewBox! Although we hope you have never suffered (or will never suffer) an injury, injuries are the order of the day in the world we live in. Luckily, medicine has a number of useful tools that allow us to cope with everyday life while we recover. One of these are crutches, which we will talk about today.

Fractures and sprains of the legs are particularly inconvenient because they require temporary immobilisation to heal. This can be a big problem, as we need to move around to do activities such as going to work or school. If the doctor approves the use of crutches, they can lessen this problem.

This is one reason why we want to study crutches and learn more about them. Therefore, we have created this guide to help you become familiar with crutches. We will introduce you to the topic with our ranking of the best crutches on the market, and then we will analyse the particular aspects of them, as well as the main purchasing factors.




The Best Crutches: Our Picks

Buying Guide

Now that you know the best crutch options on the market, let's proceed to analyse the characteristic points of these useful medical instruments. It should be noted that the information contained here is for reference only, so you should seek medical advice if you suffer any injury or discomfort.

Crutches provide the support needed to keep you moving while recovering from an injury (Photo: Wang Tom/123rf.com)

What are crutches and what are their benefits?

Crutches are medical tools that provide additional support to the body during walking, which is necessary when a leg (or part of a leg) is immobilised due to injury. The user relies on them when taking steps, which provides stability and support and facilitates the mobility process.

Crutches are usually made of aluminium, although there are some older, but still in use, versions that are made of wood. Although they come in sizes, they have additional adjustment systems that allow them to be perfectly adapted to the height of the user.

Advantages
  • They allow walking during recovery from injury
  • Learning to use them is very easy
  • They are quite accessible
  • They are useful for people with disabilities
Disadvantages
  • They are difficult to transport
  • They take up considerable space when not in use
  • They are generally uncomfortable
  • They are difficult to use when climbing stairs

Axillary and forearm crutches - what should you look out for?

There are two types of crutches: axillary and forearm crutches. The central purpose of both types is the same: to support the body for walking; however, they differ in the form of support, which in turn has other implications.

Axillary crutches: The most common and easiest to use. They are usually used for injuries with a short to medium recovery time (approx. 5 months maximum). These crutches are supported by the armpits, and also have lower handgrips that the user holds for greater control and direction when taking steps.

Although highly effective, there are some drawbacks. If used for prolonged periods of time, they can cause cramping, numbness or pain in the armpits. In addition, their use causes the wearer to naturally slouch forward, which can have long-term postural repercussions.

Forearm Crutches: This type of crutch is sometimes referred to as an "English cane" because they are more common in Europe. They are less common. They are usually more appropriate for those injuries with irreversible sequelae, or for users who require additional permanent support.

With these crutches, the user is supported by two hand grips at hand level, while a pair of forearm supports provide additional stability. They are therefore more difficult to use, as greater arm strength is required. However, the range of movement is greater, and the user's posture is more natural.

Axillary Crutches Forearm Crutches
Supported by Underarms Hands and forearm
Ease of use High, virtually no practice required Low, practice and strength development required
Disadvantages Axillary cramps and numbness Fatigue in forearms
Ideal for Injuries with shorter recovery periods Long recovery, permanent sequelae, disabled users

How much do crutches cost?

The cost of crutches varies widely, mainly depending on the type of crutch (axillary or forearm). The good news is that there are still very affordable options. The simplest pair of axillary crutches can cost as little as 200 MXN, and higher quality crutches can cost around 700 MXN.

Forearm crutches, on the other hand, are more expensive. The most affordable options start at around MXN 1,000 per pair, and can exceed MXN 3,000, depending on their additional features such as extra ergonomic design, LED light, greater adjustment options, etc.

Where to buy crutches?

Crutches are available in orthopaedic shops, such as Totalmedic, and in most health care institutions. Crutches are prescribed by doctors, and some doctors have them for sale in their offices.

Larger pharmacies also sell them, such as Farmacias San Pablo.
They are also available in some of the larger supermarkets, particularly Walmart, although availability in these shops is often limited. If you don't need them immediately and can wait for delivery, we recommend buying online, particularly from Amazon.

Buying criteria: factors that allow you to compare and rate different models of crutches

Crutches are very useful because they allow you to remain mobile (moderately, of course) during the recovery period. For the most effective and appropriate use of crutches based on your situation, it is important to choose the right crutches. With this in mind, we have listed the most important purchasing factors:

  • Type of lesion
  • Size
  • Comfort of supports
  • Ease of transport

Type of injury

As mentioned above, the use of axillary and forearm crutches differ mainly in difficulty. Recovery time depends on the type of injury, and is directly related to the type of crutches you should use in order to make your recovery time as bearable as possible.

Fracture: The ideal crutches for fractures are axillary crutches. These crutches provide enough support, are very easy to use and do not require too much strength in the arms, which is perfect considering that the immobilisation time for an injury of this type is a few months.

Sprain: Sprains also have a low-medium recovery time, so again, crutches are the ideal choice. While it is true that you could opt for forearm crutches, the effort you will have to make to get used to them is probably not worth it, as axillary crutches are easier to use.

Permanent injury: Unfortunately, some injuries leave lifelong sequelae, which force the user to use support instruments permanently. For such cases, forearm crutches are the best option because they offer greater freedom of movement. Getting used to it will take a few months, but it will be worth it.

Size

To make using crutches as comfortable as possible, you need to consider your size and height. Crutches come in certain sizes. These are not standardised or universal, but they do not usually differ too much from one manufacturer to the next. The following table lists the average heights of crutches:

Small Medium Medium Large
Approximate overall height 1.35 - 1.55 m 1.55 - 1.75 m 1.75 - 2m

As you can see, the height of each size is expressed in a range. If you have already determined your ideal size, but your height is just in the middle of the range, don't worry. All crutches can be adjusted to reach any height within their respective range, so you can adapt them perfectly to your needs.

Forearm crutches are a less common type of crutch, but just as effective (Photo: kaboompics / pixabay.com)

Comfort of the crutches

Comfort is very important, because if it is not present, the use of crutches can be a torment, as well as the overall recovery process. This depends largely on the material and composition of the braces (axillary or forearm). The softer they are, the more comfortable they are.

The easiest way to test the comfort of your crutch supports is to try them out and walk with them for two minutes, without stopping, and try to support your body as much as possible. If after two minutes you feel any discomfort, you should probably look for other crutches with more comfortable brackets.

Ease of transport

Crutches are bulky and long objects that, in most cases, are difficult to transport. They can be difficult to fit in many cars, and can also be a problem when using public transport. Therefore, it is worth finding the option that is easiest to transport based on your situation.

If you feel that your circumstances make it difficult to carry axillary crutches, you can consult your doctor to determine whether the use of forearm crutches (which are shorter) is appropriate for your condition. If this is not the case, we recommend that you opt for folding crutches, the size of which can be reduced by up to half.

(Featured image photo: Racorn/123rf.com)

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