If you’ve been unfortunate enough to injure one or both your legs, you’re probably familiar with the discomfort that comes with using crutches. Most people required to use crutches would testify that walking on them is anything but easy. Most crutches cause soreness on your armpit and hands, and in many cases can even lead to abrasions, bruises, and cuts on the part of your arm that comes into contact with the crutches most often.
The reason why crutches are so uncomfortable is because they force you to completely reimagine the way you walk around. You need to get used to carrying most of your weight on your armpits which is unnatural to most of us.
Fortunately, there is a way to lessen the discomfort and arm pain associated with using crutches. For starters, you need to make sure your crutches are appropriate to your height. As a rule of thumb, there should be around 3 inches between the top of the crutch and your armpit.
You can also try improving the contact with the crutch by investing into a crutch pad. Often the crutches are stabilized by your upper torso and inner arm and the friction can become unbearable. You can improve your technique by tightening the arm and squeezing the torso which minimizes the movement of the crutch pad. You can also consider investing in high-glycerin gel crutch pads that normally slip over the top crutch brackets – these are specifically designed to prevent friction and reduce the skin irritation and inflammation.
If you’re using crutch pads, make sure to keep your armpits away from them. The armpits are supposed to only provide support as you move around – manipulate the crutches with the hands and the rest of your arms instead.
As a rule of thumb, set each crutch pad around 1.5-2 inches below the armpit. The pads will provide comfort and reduce irritation but they shouldn’t be used to carry your weight around. Try to also resist the temptation of slumping down onto the crutch pad when you stand still.
Combine crutch pads with the right technique for using crutch pads. Ideally, your hand grip of the crutch should be even with your hip (which means your elbow will bend slightly when you grip it). This forces the triceps to initialize the movement and stabilizes you while reducing the friction between the crutch pad and your skin.
Investing in quality crutch pads, and mastering the crutch walking technique is the most certain way to improve your mobility and minimize the irritation, soreness, and abrasions on your upper body. Make sure to find the right height crutch for you, and go for quality crutch pads that will protect your skin from friction throughout the healing process.
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