10 Best Crutches | January 2017

10 Best Crutches
Best Mid-Range
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Best High-End
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Best Inexpensive
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We spent 32 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Either for short-term healing or for longer-term use, a modern, high-tech set of crutches will make getting around much easier. Our selection includes models suitable for lighter, non-weight-bearing injuries, as well as sturdier designs for mobility assistance with more serious conditions. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best crutch on Amazon.
10
The iWalk 2.0 Hands Free offers completely independent operation, and is specifically designed for assisting patients with non-weight-bearing lower leg injuries. However, it's difficult to manage on steep inclines or stairs.
  • relatively easy to learn how to use
  • one size fits most
  • straps take a long time to remove
Brand iWALK
Model HFC20001BK
Weight 5.3 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
9
The Medline Guardian Forearm have telescoping parts manufactured with internal bushings, and external lock nuts that are designed to provide quiet and sturdy operation. Unfortunately, the arm cuffs are a bit difficult to adjust.
  • black components hide signs of wear
  • strong aluminum tubing
  • grips need additional padding
Brand Medline
Model G05160
Weight 6.3 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0
8
The high-quality steel design of the Drive Medical 10403HD allows patients to adjust the leg and forearm sections independently for optimal sizing and comfort. However, their joints tend to be rather noisy when you walk with them.
  • cuffs are ergonomically contoured
  • durable vinyl hand grips
  • customer service is not responsive
Brand Drive Medical
Model 10403HD
Weight 5.5 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0
7
The Millennial In-Motion ProX are available in several different colors and sizes that accommodate any user up to 7'2" tall. They are designed to guide patients toward good posture and natural wrist placement, but their foot caps wear out quickly.
  • aircraft-grade aluminum struts
  • help avoid underarm jamming
  • handles loosen easily
Brand Millennial Medical
Model MWD-6500
Weight 6.2 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0
6
The DonJoy Rebound utilize a pair of springs in the tips to absorb the energy from downward impact and help to gently propel their users forward. Their padded, ergonomically shaped underarm supports allow for long periods of comfortable use.
  • grip placement promotes circulation
  • fold for easy storage or travel
  • rebounding takes practice
Brand DonJoy
Model DJ141AX01-TA
Weight 7 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
5
Designed with ease of mobility in mind, the Mobilegs Ultra U1 feature grips that contour to the shape of your hands in order to maintain natural wrist angles and proper weight distribution across your palms. They can support users up to 300 lbs.
  • saddle design pivots and rotates
  • offset legs provide hip clearance
  • awkward to store
Brand Mobi
Model U1
Weight 3.7 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0
4
In addition to their patented shock-absorbing technology, the Ergoactives Ergobaum Prime TOP-0590H also have a built-in LED lamp, a horn, and safety reflectors, making them ideal for users who need to navigate darker neighborhoods.
  • retractable knee rest platforms
  • designed by an orthopedic surgeon
  • hand grips are not comfortable
Brand Ergoactives
Model TOP-0590H
Weight 5.7 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
3
The FDI Opticomfort Lightweight feature height selection locking devices with safety clips, as well as 3.6-inch-deep cuffs for improved comfort and security wherever you go. Their grips also offer easy push-button release functionality.
  • ultra-lightweight design
  • forearm pads are easy to replace
  • sturdy construction
Brand FDI
Model pending
Weight 3.8 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0
2
The Crutcheze Black Underarm CRU0151 are only a minor upgrade from the traditional units you're used to seeing around hospitals, but their patented pads provide much more comfort and impact absorption than those other models.
  • antibacterial covers
  • moisture wicking technology
  • made in the usa
Brand Crutcheze
Model CRU0151
Weight 0.3 ounces
Rating 4.9 / 5.0
1
The X-Crutch Underarm are constructed from high-grade aluminum alloy with a hard-anodized finish that is both scratch- and corrosion-resistant. Their memory function prevents the need for excessive adjustments each time you use them.
  • flexible nonslip tips
  • accommodate a wide height range
  • easily hook onto tables or chairs
Brand X-crutch
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

Stability And Support Where It's Needed Most

Some people like to be innovative, inquisitive, thoughtful, and are always thinking of ways to circumvent problems, while coming up with applicable solutions and workarounds. This can be true for points of confusion, inventions, and temporary or permanent disabilities. Perhaps you've recently taken an unfortunate tumble down the stairs, have fallen on the street, broken a bone, or perhaps you suffer from a physical difference that would prevent you from having full use of your legs. The last thing you plan to do is give up. You're still going to get around and get things accomplished. For any one of these reasons, crutches are an extremely valuable tool for making the unlikely suddenly possible.

Typically constructed from either hardwoods or metal, crutches are vertical tools designed to support a disabled person when their ability to walk normally has been compromised. Functionally speaking, a pair of crutches reduces the weight load on one's legs, while broadening their support base in order to maintain balance and stability when moving around. By distributing weight towards the forearm and underarm, crutches help to promote upright posture for those with disabilities or paralysis. Crutches also allow the user additional maneuverability in places they wouldn't ordinarily be able to go if they were in a wheelchair.

By supporting upright movements, crutches improve circulation as well as the function of both the kidneys and lungs.

Several different types of crutches are available. The axillary (or underarm) crutch is the most common and is easily adjusted to accommodate a variety of heights. Axillary crutches are used by placing their top pads against a user's ribcage and beneath the armpit. A parallel hand grip is also located below the pads. Axillary crutch users will often place a towel or soft cushioning around the crutch padding to prevent potential armpit injury or nerve damage. The Lofstrand crutch (or forearm crutch) offers increased flexion for the elbow, which allows the arm to bear an increased amount of weight. Platform crutches (or triceps crutches) are known for their built-in troughs that support the forearm at the very top, while a vertical handgrip is placed at the end of the platform. Velcro straps are usually applied around the forearm to keep the platform crutch in place.

Forearm crutches offer several advantages over traditional underarm crutches, with the main advantage being that forearm crutches spread the majority of a user's weight across their entire forearm instead of simply concentrating it around the wrist. This can help to prevent wrist injury. Additionally, the shape and design of forearm crutches allow for a greater degree of movement than a user would experience using an underarm crutch. That being said, the forearm crutch does have a steeper learning curve than the more traditional axillary crutch.

The forearm crutch is preferred in Europe, while the underarm crutch is more common in the United States. One of the underlying reasons for this in the states is that forearm crutches are often associated with permanent disabilities, whereas the underarm crutch has a connotation more aligned with temporary use.

Being Informed Right Out Of The Gait

The type of crutch you choose depends on a variety of factors, including the type of injury or condition you have and the way that injury or condition will affect your gait. Gaits are important to learn when using crutches, as they can help some of your muscles rest while others are working, so finding the right type of crutch to make it as easy on yourself as possible is important.

Comfort is a big deal when using crutches. Depending on your injury, you may have to use one or two crutches for an extended period of time, so ensuring that the pads are properly cushioned, the hand grips are easy to use, and that the crutches are both lightweight and durable will all be integral to your search.

Crutch tips are also important to consider. They should be made from some type of non-slip material to provide superior traction, while also being wide enough to offer dependable support when you move around.

Universal height adjustability also matters, particularly if the intended user for the crutches is a kid who's still growing.

A Brief History Of The Crutch

Evidence of carvings from ancient Egypt dating back to the time of the pharaohs five thousand years ago suggests that crutches have been around for quite a while. The pharaohs of Egypt used these devices to help them get around. Since that time, the design hasn't changed all that much. Tree branches or timber were often used to fashion rudimentary crutches with natural padding to make them more comfortable.

Fast forward a few thousand years and we'll come to the first patented and commercially-produced crutch, developed in 1917 by Emile Schlick. This early crutch design resembled a simple walking stick with upper arm support. By 1945, A. R. Lofstrand, Jr. patented the first set of crutches with adjustable height, making them fully customizable. Lofstrand's main goal was to assist a disabled person to achieve both normal step motions and balance.

Credit for the design of forearm crutches lies with Thomas Fetterman who used the invention as a way to deal with his prior experience with Polio in the nineteen fifties. Fetterman realized some of the drawbacks with axillary crutches (the potential for slipping, falling, and nerve damage) and developed a crutch with a superior ability to grab the ground, thanks to an improved crutch tip and shock-absorbing gel cap. This crutch went into production in 1988 and is still recommended by orthopedic specialists today.



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Last updated on January 31, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.


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