In the UK we want the best, but as we know that isn’t always what we get. So when selecting the right type of crutch its important to know the all the basics. The right selection will depend on the type of Joint injury or Pain you have. This guide will help you take away the discomfort, if not the anguish of using crutches when you have Joint Pain.
Joint pain is one of the most common complaints amongst older people, and most of them need to use crutches and other mobility aids to walk around, even over short distances. However, walking aids are not so easy to choose if you have arthritis.
For instance, if you have osteoarthritis and tried regular crutches, you might agree with me, it feels as if you were a left-handed trying to use a pair of scissors made for right-handed people. It somehow doesn’t fit, and you won’t always be able to tell the exact reason why you feel so uncomfortable.
As you know we don’t stock our products at the clinic, we use Amazon for delivery. You can find ours by clicking here: BEST CRUTCHES provided by AMAZON.
In this article, we will go through the most common complaints and reasons why most crutches are not made for people with advanced arthritis. Then, we will give you appropriate recommendations so you can choose the best crutches for joint pain.
The experience of using crutches with Arthritic joint pain
Most people buying crutches need them to recover their mobility for a very limited time; they sustain the discomfort of a cheap crutch and then go back to the normality of their previous free mobility range after a while. That’s the case of patients undergoing lesions in the lower extremities, or right after surgery, as in knee replacement surgery.
It’s not the same for arthritis patients. They need something comfortable they can use for a lifetime.
Most cheap crutches are not very comfortable, they are minimally adjustable, and there’s no choice but to use them under the arm. Patients with advanced arthritis may have difficulty to bend their wrists or straighten their elbow. Just by having these problems would make regular crutches difficult to use and even painful. Trying desperately to fix this issue, some people come up with a solution: using a walker with armrests. But they are heavy, and sometimes a bit messy and dangerous.
After using cheap crutches for a while, you might have ended up with swollen wrists, an extra strain on your arms and forearms bones and muscles, and an additional source of joint pain. In some cases, patients have even described bruises, hematomas, and other lesions that came from overusing this type of crutches. These walking aids sometimes become a walking hindrance, and patients prefer not standing up and walking much to avoid using them. That’s how they get an extra bladder infection, may develop pressure lesions from sitting or laying down for a long time, and may even become overweight, which eventually adds up to the joint pain.
Other complaints and medical problems associated with regular crutches include ulnar neuropraxia with associated pain, and sometimes even ulnar fractures. That is because the ulna is a particularly soft spot in the upper extremities, covered with limited soft tissue.
Using a walker with armrests as an alternative may sound convenient, but it is not a long-lasting solution to the problem, and it will become an additional source of discomfort and an extra hindrance to your mobility issues.
Arthritis elbow crutches: An interesting alternative
Arthritis elbow crutches are different from cheap options created as a temporary solution for people with no arthritic pain. They are not only designed for people with arthritis but may also be useful if you have an Achilles tendon injury, Guillain Barre or Ehler-Danlos syndrome. In other words, any user who will permanently need crutches will be better off using elbow crutches instead of their cheaper and uncomfortable counterparts. It will be useful as well if you’re recovering from a hip replacement surgery or if you underwent a fracture of your lower limbs.
Either way, arthritic elbow crutches are an excellent mobility aid for people with disabilities and those who need to use crutches for an extended period of time every day. With regular crutches, the load of your entire body goes straight to your hands and wrists. That’s a particularly soft spot for people with arthritis. But elbow crutches spread that same load on a broader area: your forearms. That’s why you won’t suffer from extra joint pain after using them.
This type of crutch is highly adjustable. You can adjust almost anything there is to make up for your height, the angle of the platform for your forearms, and the position of the handle to meet the length of your forearm. All of this is fundamental if you’re planning to use crutches for an extended time.
Arthritis patients who already used these elbow crutches usually say they may feel a bit odd at first, mainly because you’re not used to this method of resting the load of your body in your forearms. But with time you will get used to them and won’t be going back to your regular crutches.
We can also use arthritis elbow crutches as a walking aid after surgery. It will be more comfortable than regular crutches, and since you won’t end up with pain in your hands and wrists, it will be easier to use. Keep in mind that rehabilitation is an essential step after surgery, and that includes knee replacement surgery, which is common in osteoarthritis. Thus, you need to feel comfortable to complete your entire rehab protocol if you want to recover your mobility.
As a quick summary, we have included a small table with the benefits and risks of both regular crutches and arthritis elbow crutches for patients with joint pain:
|· Improves mobility and function in the lower extremities
|· Swelling in the wrists
· Pain in the wrists and hands
· Bruises and hematomas
· Patients avoiding standing up and walking out of discomfort
· Ulnar neuropraxia
· Ulnar fractura
|Arthritis Elbow crutches
|· Spreading loads in a wider area
· Increased mobility with no associated pain
· Easy to adjust according to your height and forearm length
· Appropriate to use for an extended time
|· This new modality might seem odd to use for the first week as you get used to it
Hügle, T., Arnieri, A., Bünter, M., Schären, S., & Mündermann, A. (2017). Prospective clinical evaluation of a novel anatomic cuff for forearm crutches in patients with osteoarthritis. BMC musculoskeletal disorders, 18(1), 110.
Fischer, J., Nüesch, C., Göpfert, B., Mündermann, A., Valderrabano, V., & Hügle, T. (2014). Forearm pressure distribution during ambulation with elbow crutches: a cross-sectional study. Journal of neuroengineering and rehabilitation, 11(1), 61.
Suarez, G. G., Garcia, J. G., & Carro, L. P. (2001). Stress fracture of the ulna associated with crutch use. Journal of orthopaedic trauma, 15(7), 524-525.
Malkan, D. H. (1992). Bilateral ulnar neuropraxia: a complication of elbow crutches. Injury, 23(6), 426.