Adjusting Your Crutches to Perfect Position
Often crutches are prescribed to those who have to minimize how much weight they place on an injured leg or to certain people who have chronic conditions. Despite how helpful crutches can be, those who need to use them can often have trouble to adjust them.
After researching how to adjust and measure crutches, we want to share with you what we have learned. From sizing your crutches to measuring forearm and underarm crutches to match your proportions, continue reading to learn everything you need to know.
How To Size Your Crutches
Usually, a health care professional will tell you how to size your crutches and use them.
Yet, we know that it can be quite difficult to remember everything your doctor has told you. We have compiled a few pointers below for you to follow.
- They mustn’t be too low: The last thing you want to do is size your crutches too low. You will be forced to lean forward if your crutches are too low. This will lead to you having straight arms, which will likely increase the weight you place on the front of your arms. Unfortunately, sizing your crutches too low can also cause lower back pain. So it’s often best to avoid the attractiveness of being lower to the ground as it won’t benefit you.
- They mustn’t be too high: Just as your crutches shouldn’t be sized too low, you mustn’t size them too high. If your crutches are too high, your elbows will be bent too much from your shoulders being moved too far up. When your crutches are sized too high, you will find it challenging to maneuver, because you won’t be able to push down hard enough. Thus leaving you unable to properly support your arms and legs. Moreover, sizing them too high can cause neck and shoulder pain.
When sizing your crutches, you can follow a few basic guidelines. For example, it’s recommended that the top of your crutches be between one and a half and two inches below your armpits.
This measurement applies while you’re standing straight. Additionally, the handgrips of your crutches should appear even to the top of your hips. You should also have slightly bent elbows when you use your hand grips.
In the following sections, we discussed how to measure yourself to fit your crutches.
How To Adjust Underarm Crutches: Measuring Underarm Crutches
Adjusting to underarm crutches can be challenging. Luckily adjusting and measuring for crutch sizing is simple.
Yet, don’t be dismayed if you find it a bit of a challenge, as it takes time to find what makes you most comfortable. Let’s dive into the steps you need to take.
- While wearing the shoes you often wear, stand up straight with your arms relaxed at your sides.
- While standing straight, hold your crutches and adjust the overall height. To do this, simply press the spring buttons on your crutches to lengthen and shorten them. You will continue pressing these buttons to adjust the height. You’ll only stop when the underarm pad is around 2 to 3 finger widths below your armpit.
- Once you have adjusted the height, you’ll need to adjust the hand grip. There should be a pin located on your crutches that you can pull to adjust. You’ll need to play around with this setting. That is until the crutch handgrip comes up to the crease of your wrist when your arms are at your sides. If your elbow is bent slightly to about 30 degrees of flexion, you know you have sized and adjusted them right.
Now that you know how to adjust them, we want to explain briefly how you can measure your underarm crutches. To measure and obtain the right crutch sizing, you’ll need to take an X and Y measurement.
Your X measurement is the distance between the top of your hand grip and the top of the crutch pad. Your Y measurement is the distance between the bottom of the crutch tip and the top of your hand grip. These measurements will help you find a pair of crutches that match your proportions.
How To Adjust Forearm Crutches: Measuring Elbow Crutches
Unlike underarm crutches, it is more complex to adjust and measure forearm crutches. Forearm crutches are also known as elbow crutches. We have explained the process below to help you adjust and measure your forearm crutches.
- You must stand upright with your hands hanging at your sides. Your shoulders must also be relaxed (no tensing).
- Adjust the hand grips on your crutches by pushing a button in. Then make sure it aligns with the crease of your wrist when you have extended your arm.
- To adjust the height of your crutches, push the spring buttons on the leg extensions. When you push the button, you’ll be able to shorten or lengthen your crutch leg to achieve the height you need.
- Repeating the above step, you will need to adjust the height on both crutches. Then you’ll need to check that your crutch height is correctly adjusted. To do this, ensure your elbow is bent at a 30-degree angle.
Additionally, don’t forget to rotate all collars to ensure leg extensions are secured.
- You need to adjust the cuff of your forearm crutch to one to two inches below your elbows bend.
- Adjusting cuff height is simple. All you must do is press the spring buttons on each cuff. Do this while lengthening or shortening until you achieve optimal sizing. Also, don’t forget to check that the spring button is entirely engaged. To do this, check the adjustment hole.
- Rotate all the collars to ensure you have secured the cuff. You should also not forget to narrow or widen the crutch cuffs to fit perfectly around your arm.
Additionally, if you want to measure precisely where the cuff on your crutch should be, you need to measure the distance from your elbow. Usually, the distance from the top of your cuff to your elbow should be 2 inches. So, if you’re 5 feet tall, 3 inches if you’re 5 feet and 8 inches tall, and 4 inches if you’re 6 feet tall. Yet, these are only guidelines; you must keep comfort in mind with all your measurements.
Remember To Check Crutch Safety
When measuring and adjusting your crutches, you need to keep safety in mind. For example, you must never lean on the top of your crutches while adjusting or measuring. If you do this, you can hurt the nerves in your forearms or underarms, causing tingling and numbness.
Additionally, when adjusting your crutches, you must not forget to make sure that the adjustment spring button is aligned. You also need to ensure that they are fully engaged.
Moreover, you must not allow your crutch to be too long as this can cause the crutch pad to rub on your skin. This will cause chafing and skin irritation. You also cannot maneuver properly or use your arm or shoulder muscles as you should. You could press the crutch too harshly into your underarm area. This could compress nerves and blood vessels that supply your arms.
Basic Tips On Using Crutches
You can follow a few basic crutch tips to ensure you use your crutches appropriately and reduce chances of hurting yourself. Have a look at our top crutch tips below:
- When walking from one terrain (surface) to another, take care. Also, when you’re walking on slippery surfaces, try to take small steps.
- Try and get your crutches fitted professionally to avoid hurting yourself. A professional can help take your measurements. They can also create crutches that fit your height and proportions.
- Always wear supportive shoes when using crutches so that you don’t trip. Most people are better off using flat shoes.
- When you’re using crutches, don’t carry anything in your hands. Instead, use a backpack or waist pack to keep your belongings safe.
- Don’t use your crutches in dark-lit rooms as you won’t be able to safely step.
Thankfully, adjusting your crutches before using them is a somewhat easy process. As long as you followed the few directions we gave for forearm or underarm crutches, you should have no issues adjusting yours. You also should be able to measure a set of crutches easily to get a pair that matches your frame, height, and proportions.
After adjust crutches, you might be interested our use crutches guide.