How to Adjust Crutches for Better Performance?
Before you start using your crutches on a daily basis, there are a few things you should check to get the optimum performance out of them.
One of the first things you need to do once you get your crutches is to make proper adjustments according to your body. Without proper adjustments, you can end up hurting yourself further while using your crutches.
The good news is, in a few easy steps, you can adjust your own crutches in the comfort of your own home. Here we are going to discuss the steps to do just that for both axillary and forearm crutches.
How to Adjust Axillary Crutches
Here’s a step-by-step guide to adjusting axillary crutches.
Fixing the Height
Every time you make each of the adjustments, you should stand up wearing your normal walking shoes with a good posture to make sure you get them right.
For most conventional crutches, you can adjust the height by sliding the lowermost part up or down while pressing the buttons on it, using the numbers inscribed on them as your guide. Make sure the holes line up so they click and the buttons pop out.
To make sure the height has been set right, stand up straight while holding the crutches a bit forward or how you usually hold them and see if you can fit two fingers comfortably between your armpits and the pad of your crutch.
Now readjust the height if needed and recheck until you get the desired height. Remember, you do not want the crutches to be touching your armpits.
And you definitely do not want to be leaning onto the crutches using your armpits. Your underarm area has nerves, arteries, and veins that could greatly suffer from bad postures like that.
Fixing the Handle
Okay, so you have set the height of your crutches. Now it’s time to move onto the handles.
Again, stand up with a good posture while holding the crutches, as mentioned above. Straighten out each of your arms so that they dangle to see where the wrist falls against the crutch. This should be the point at which your crutch handle should be.
Now, detach the handle from the crutch by unscrewing it and then reattach so that it lines up perfectly with the inside of your wrist. You can unscrew the handle with your bare hands, provided they are not screwed too tight.
While reattaching, set the handle at the right height using one hand and screw it back using the other hand. The screw does not need to be too snug, just snug enough so that it does not move or roll when you use the crutch.
At this point, when you grip the handle, your elbow should have a slight bend at a comfortable angle.
Adjusting the handle can seem a bit trickier as you may need to take the screw all the way out, depending on the crutch. But do not be afraid just to go ahead and do it as it really is not that hard and definitely worth the effort in the end.
Checking the Rubber Ends
Test out the rubber ends that came with your crutches to see if they are to your liking. They should be sticky enough that they do not slide around on tiled floors. Also, they should not be loose.
Rubber tips can deteriorate with time, and the metal or wooden shaft will eventually peek through, making the tips slippery, which you don’t want. So make sure to get new good quality tips once your old ones get worn out.
How to Adjust Forearm Crutches
Here’s a step-by-step guide for adjusting forearm crutches.
Fixing the Handle Height
In the case of forearm crutches, you need to do it the other way around. That is, you need to fix the handle first, and then the upper part. Start by standing the same way as mentioned above, wearing your usual walking shoes, and standing straight with good posture.
Now, check the height of the handle by holding the crutch to your side. Just like axillary crutches, the handle should line up with the inside of your wrist. Shorten or lengthen the bottom part of your crutch by pressing both buttons and sliding it up or down.
Once you get the handle height right, you can move onto adjusting the forearm piece holding the cuff.
Fixing the Cuff Height
To adjust the cuff, press down the buttons of the forearm piece like before and slide the shaft up or down as needed. The correct position for the cuff would be about three fingers length down from your elbow.
Keep in mind that both your crutches need to be the same length with the handles at the same height, no matter the crutch type.
Adjusting crutches in accordance with your own body is a very important step that you should not skip, for your own comfort and well being.
Using the steps described in this article, you can now easily adjust your crutches to make sure you get the best performance out of them.
The best part is, all these steps are done in a matter of minutes and take very little effort. Also, don’t forget to check the rubber tip every week, which again, takes only seconds.