Underarm Crutches / Armpit Crutches
Axillary crutches, or underarm crutches, as they’re also called, are the perfect choice if you have a leg injury or are suffering from limited mobility, but are able to use upper body strength to support yourself when walking. Underarm crutches are extremely durable and are a common method of helping to heal after injury or surgery. At AvaCare Medical, we carry some of the best underarm crutches, from top manufacturers including Drive Medical, Carex, Cardinal Health, and more! Read More...
What Are Axillary Crutches?
Axillary crutches are more popular than other types of crutches, since they are used primarily by patients with short term injuries or by users who can still function with weight bearing on one leg. Other users prefer armpit crutches simply because of the numerous benefits that they provide (even if they have limited or non-weight bearing ability in both legs). And then there are those with long-term injuries or conditions who may end up using forearm crutches instead, or using them in combination with axillary crutches.
Axillary crutches are used to provide mobility and stability for users who need to practice limited or non-weight bearing support while walking. Under arm crutches are commonly used by hospitals and medical facilities as well due to user familiarity, ease of use, and versatility. It’s important to know also that many medical facilities provide use of bariatric crutches during short term stays if a user doesn’t need a wheelchair.
Underarm Crutches: The Many Benefits
While some people associate discomfort with crutches that have axillary support, there are many benefits that some people realize. There are many uses of axillary crutches that aren’t available in other types of crutches or walking aids, and therefore, a physician may recommend axillary crutches for use at first – even in the event that someone may need a long-term solution in the future. Some of the benefits that underarm crutches provide are:
Recovery of Injured Legs
Many people who suffer from a broken leg can reduce recovery times by using axillary crutches. Many times, users who suffer from a single leg injury need to keep weight bearing to a minimum on their injured leg, and axillary crutches allow them to do that. This can improve patient recovery and even reduce injury recovery times when crutches are used properly.
Better Core Support
If you’re thinking of getting forearm crutches instead of underarm crutches, be aware that lofstrand crutches don’t provide the same core and torso support that armpit crutches can allow. Therefore, if stability is a primary concern, one may want to learn how to use axillary crutches to ensure their safety and stability at all times. Compared to forearm crutches, when a user masters standard crutches, they can provide up to 80% core weight transferral compared to their body weight.
There are much more crutch accessories available for underarm crutches than there are for wrist crutches. Some users opt for pads or covers in order to help keep the crutches from hurting armpits, and to improve comfort. Other people may want to have hands-free carrying of their small personal items, and there are special crutch bags and pouches that can be attached in order to achieve this.
Easy to Learn to Use
Other types of walking aids and crutches take more time to master and even to use. When comparing forearm crutches to axillary crutches, many users admit that even if they like forearm crutches more, that they were more of a challenge to manage than standard crutches. This is because of the added stability that regular crutches provide, as mentioned earlier.
Lightweight & Affordable
The average weight of crutches is approximately 5 pounds. Even though some under arm crutches may be heavier than this, they are rarely above 10 pounds and are designed to be used in everyday settings while helping to minimize fatigue as much as possible. This type of crutch also requires less physical strength, but can improve walking posture and minimize leg atrophy of the uninjured legs more than other mobility options.
Axillary crutches are also extremely affordable. While some forearm crutches may be a little bit cheaper than axillary crutches, the majority of them are pretty similar in price. What is important is that a person gets quality and value combined when choosing crutches. These can generally range anywhere from $30 all the way up to $100 depending on the brands, features, and weight capacity.
Learning How to Use Axillary Crutches Properly
Since underarm crutches win the ‘ease of use’ category when pitting forearm versus underarm models, it is essential that a user learns how to use underarm crutches the right way. Since there are many uses of axillary crutches, one must know how to use one crutch for non-weight bearing practices or simply how to walk with crutches for non-weight bearing reasons (using a pair of them). It’s important that when learning how to use crutches, one takes their time to help maintain proper balance and minimize falling as much as possible.
Using Crutches on Stairs
It is highly recommended that crutch users take the elevator, escalator, or just avoid stairs altogether, but unfortunately this isn’t always a possible or viable solution. Therefore, it’s important that a user knows how to use crutches on stairs just in case – and it is only recommended to do so if the staircase has an arm rail. The following steps can also apply to the use of a steep incline or even a slope if one needs to absolutely travel on a surface like this (even though it is not recommended for safety reasons).
When going upstairs, it is important that a user advances the stronger leg first, holding themselves with the crutches on the lower step. Next, they will move up with their injured leg while holding the hand rail. When travelling downstairs, one needs to do the opposite (putting the injured leg and crutch in front of them first, then carefully swinging their uninjured foot forward and down accordingly).