A crutch is a mobility aid that transfers weight from the legs to the upper body.It is often used for people who cannot use their legs to support their weight,for reasons ranging from short-term injuries to lifelong disabilities.
There are several types of crutches:
a type of crutch with a cuff at the top to go around the forearm,also known as the Lofstrand crutch.It has been the type most commonly used in Europe. Forearm crutch is used by inserting the arm into a cuff and holding the grip.The cuff,typically made of 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.
or axilla crutch.It is used by placing the pad against the ribcage beneath the armpit and holding the grip,which is below and parallel to the pad.
These are less common and used by those with poor hand grip due to arthritis,cerebral palsy,or other conditions.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 disability.
These non-traditional crutches are useful for users with an injury or disability affecting one lower leg only.They function by strapping the affected leg into a support frame that simultaneously holds the lower leg clear of the ground while transferring the load from the ground to the user's knee or thigh.This style of crutch has the advantage of not using the hands or arms while walking.A claimed benefit is that upper thigh atrophy is also reduced because the affected leg remains in use.Unlike other crutch designs these designs are unusable for pelvic,hip or thigh injuries and in some cases for knee injuries also.
Walking sticks or canes serve an identical purpose to crutches,but are held only in the hand and have a limited load bearing capability because of this.