Crutches: some hints

source: this website

For lower-limb injuries (broken leg, broken ankle, sprained ankle, knee injuries), as well as after lower limb surgery, crutches can be used to decrease discomfort, reduce recovery time, and assist walking. Often, when a cast is put on the leg or on the foot, or in the case of weak muscles or gait instability, the use of crutches might become necessary for a period of time. Crutches may also be used by amputees, and people with other disabilities that make walking difficult.

A crutch must do two things: reduce the body weight load on the injured limb and broaden the user’s support base to improve their balance and stability. The support also should assist upright movement and transmit sensory cues through the hands. The main benefit provided by crutches is the ability to keep an upright posture and, therefore, to be able to maneuver in places that could not be reached, for instance, with a wheelchair. Regaining upright body movement aids circulation, assists kidney and lung functions, and helps prevent calcium loss from the bones.

Crutches shift the force of upright movement from the lower limbs to the upper body. The user must have sufficient arm strength, balance, and coordination to use them effectively. There are several basic types of crutches:

  • c6b9729b3b1feff84fc553551deff3cdaxillary / underarm crutch – the most common type, can be adjusted easily to the user’s overall height and hand height;
  • forearm / Lofstrand / elbow crutch – allows 15°-30° elbow flexion-extension movements, letting the user bear a greater weight;
  • platform / triceps crutch – conceived to avoid bony contact on the arm, though providing stability;
  • strutter crutch – provides larger crutch tips that remain flat on the floor and allow for improved weight distribution and more even walking gait;
  • leg support crutch – like a knee scooter, the affected leg is strapped into a support frame on wheels. This type of crutch is particularly useful for below-the-knee injuries or postoperatively after surgeries that affect one leg only.

Walking with crutches is not easy. Studies have shown that the wrist joints receives from 1 to more than 3 times the body weight during the swing phase of walking with crutches, a load that the upper body was not designed to sustain. Crutch comfort can become an issue, as the user’s body acclimates to their use.

ASU Rehabilitation Robotics Workshop

the 4th ASU Rehabilitation Robotics Workshop will be supported by the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust and hosted by Arizona State University

Dates: February 8-9, 2016
Location: Memorial Union, ASU Campus, Tempe

The main theme of this workshop is rehabilitation robotics. However, the workshop will include a wide range of topics aimed at improving quality of life and covering the multidisciplinary field of robotics, including human robot interaction and human motor control. The main goals of the workshop are to discuss the state of handcontrolthe art in rehabilitation robotics and to identify the main challenges in this field.

This workshop is supported by a Piper Health Solutions grant to the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering at Arizona State University (ASU).

This workshop is open to:

  • Hand_ImageResearchers in the fields of robotics, rehabilitation, assistive devices, and physical human-robot interaction
  • Undergraduate and graduate students in the fields of engineering, medicine, physical rehabilitation, and nursing
  • Clinicians and therapists in neuro-rehabilitation
  • General public

The event is free, however registration is required for admittance to the workshop.

assistive devices comparison

what-are-crutch-alternativesTwo weeks ago I stumbled upon this interesting website, which provides useful information about different assistive devices. I tried to make a list of Pros & Cons of crutches, walkers and exoskeletons (as for the latter category, in very general terms) in order to compare them from a more global point of view. The result is the table below here, that you can zoom by a simple click.

Would you help me complete it? For sure it contains mistakes and inaccuracies, and further details should be added 🙂