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Crutches are medical tools used in the event that one's leg or legs may be injured or unable to support weight. The term, crutch, can also refer to anything used by a person as a psychological or emotional prop, or to something used as an excuse not to engage in normal life activities.


Medical crutches


There are several different types of medical crutches:

These are the most common type in Europe, used in the US almost exclusively by people with permanent disabilities, though orthopaedic surgeons are now beginning to perscrib forearm crutches for patients with shorter term needs. Forearm crutches are used by slipping the arm into a cuff and holding the grip. The cuff, typically made of either plastic or metal, can be a half-circle or a full circle with a V-type opening in the front allowing the forearm to slip out in case of a fall.

Emile Schlick, french mechanical engineer, patented in the USA, Oct. 23, 1917 (US 1244249) a walking stick provided at the upper end with an oblique support on which the forearm rests. It’s exactly a forearm or elbow crutch. This invention was first patented in France May 7th 1915. Then Philipp Cederstom patented a cane crutch (US Patent 2192766) looking nearly the same. Finally Lofstrand’s invention (A. R. Lofstrand, Jr., who patented them in 1945) consists of an adjustable length crutch but in the USA forearm crutches are also sometimes referred to as Lofstrands ,[1] Canadian crutches (since they are commonly used in Canada), elbow crutches or even Walk Easies (Walk Easy is a brand name).

These are the most common type in the United States, and are used most often by people with temporary disability or injury. These are used by placing the pads under the armpits and holding the grip, which is below and parallel to the armpit pad. These are sometimes known as axillary crutches.
These are a variation on under-arm crutches, incorporating large soles which remains flat on the floor or ground while the user walks. They allow for an improved walking gait, and distribute body weight to reduct the risk of nerve damage caused by underarm crutches.
These are less common and used by those with poor hand grip (due to arthritis, cerebral palsy, etc.). The arm rests on a horizontal platform and is strapped in place. The hand rests on a grip which, if properly designed, can be angled appropriately depending on the user's physical handicap.
Knee Support 
These crutches are useful for patients whose injury or disability is below the knee. They allow the knee of the injured leg to be placed on a support, whereby the injured leg now points backward behind the patient. This style of crutch affords the patient the ability to have one or both hands free to carry objects. Upper thigh atrophy is also reduced due to the fact that half the patients weight is now supported by each thigh rather than one thigh and the armpits.

Information on use

Several different gait patterns are possible, and the user chooses which one to use depending on the reason the crutches are needed. For example, a person with a leg injury generally performs a "swing-to" gait: he lifts the injured leg, places both crutches in front of himself, and then swings his uninjured leg to meet the crutches. Other gaits are used when both legs are equally affected by some disability, or when the injured leg is partially weight-bearing.[2]

Crutch is also used as a verb to refer to the use of crutches to travel somewhere. For example: "I am going to crutch to the store," or "I will be crutching over to your place."

The word "crutch" can refer to an object that is a weakness, that the bearer requires in order to function (metaphorically) Example: Can sexuality be used as a social crutch?[3]


  1. Wooden
  2. Steel/ other metals
  3. Aluminium
  4. Carbon fiber
  5. Titanium


  1. ^ Kluttz, Sherri L. 1998. Collapsible sectional lofstrand-type crutch. U.S. Patent No. 5,771,910, filed July 24, 1997 and issued June 30, 1998.
  2. ^ Walk Easy > Interact > Crutch Gait. Retrieved on March 22, 2007.
  3. ^ Eri Izawa. Is Religion a Crutch? Retrieved on March 22, 2007.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Crutch". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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