The best crutches

Medical Supplies & Equipment

Without crutches, many patients would either need to stay in bed or risk additional injury by walking on a broken or otherwise injured leg.

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Which crutches are best?

Crutches help with the recovery process following a surgery or fracture. Without crutches, many patients would either need to stay in bed or risk additional injury by walking on a broken or otherwise injured leg. It’s important to know what to consider when looking for a pair of crutches by reading expert opinions and consumer feedback. For a top pick, consider checking out the Mobility Designed Store Forearm Crutches Adult.

What to know before you buy crutches

Learn how to walk with crutches

Consider contacting your healthcare provider if you need in-person instruction on how to use your crutches. Otherwise, you can use a standard pair of crutches by using both crutches to leverage yourself from a seated to standing position, place the crutches firmly against the sides of your body, plant both crutches a short distance ahead of your body, shift your weight to the crutches and swing forward until your strong leg lands safely.

Know where to shop for crutches

You can find new or used crutches at medical supply stores, online suppliers, retail drugstores, nonprofits and charity organizations. 

What to look for in quality crutches

Construction material

The best crutches are strong, durable and lightweight. You should look for crutches with common construction materials like wood, steel, aluminum or composite and carbon fiber.

Common kinds of crutches

Physical therapists and doctors will sometimes prescribe a particular kind of crutch based on your level of mobility, your physical condition and your injuries. The rest of the time, you are free to select the kind of crutch you want to use. The two most common kinds of crutches are the forearm crutch and the underarm or axillary crutch. 

  • The underarm or axillary crutch starts with a padded or unpadded cap at the top that fits under the shoulder and armpit. It has served as a standard mobility aid for centuries. A split shaft, supported by an adjustable handgrip, fits snugly against your knees, hips and rib cage, while the end of the crutch is protected by a plastic or rubber tip and makes solid contact with the ground, much like a walking cane. Most of these underarm crutches can be adjusted according to your height.
  • A forearm crutch is usually recommended for heavier users or people who don’t have the upper body strength needed for underarm crutches. Many adolescent and child patients also like forearm crutches due to the shift in weight bearing. Forearm crutches use a supportive collar that fits snugly around your forearm, and the collar shifts most of your body weight and support from the armpit and shoulder area to your forearms. You will grip an adjustable offset handle and navigate the shaft like a walking cane to use the forearm crutch. 

Hands-free crutch

Many manufacturers and brands provide a hands-free crutch, in addition to the forearm and underarm styles, that can support your injured knee or leg. Since you are not required to hold onto two crutches at the same time, you can prepare food, open doors, reach for items and more. This crutch style won’t work for everyone, but it does address many of the discomfort and mobility problems that forearm and underarm crutch users experience.

How much you can expect to spend on crutches

Crutches can vary in price, depending on the quality, the type of crutch and the adjustability. The more basic crutches cost about $50-$80, while the more high-end crutches go for $150-$200.

Crutches FAQ

How do you know if you’re using your crutches correctly?

A. If you are using properly adjusted underarm crutches, they should not press into your armpit area and your shoulders shouldn’t absorb your body weight. Nearly all of your body weight should be distributed throughout your upper body and rest on your wrists. Correctly adjusted forearm crutches will redistribute your weight to your wrists and forearms.

You should ask for help if you have any doubts about your form when using crutches. A physical therapist, nurse or physician can demonstrate the correct crutch use and make sure that you are moving correctly when using your crutches. A trained associate can also help you if you are in a medical supply store.

Is it safe to use pre-owned crutches?

A. Crutches are usually prescribed for a particular person’s use, but this doesn’t mean that someone else can’t reuse the crutches. It is typically safe to use pre-owned crutches as long as you can make the required adjustments to meet your own physical and medical requirements.

What are the best crutches to buy?

Top crutches

Mobility Designed Store Forearm Crutches Adult

Mobility Designed Store Forearm Crutches Adult

What you need to know: These forearm crutches are an excellent alternative to traditional armpit crutches.

What you’ll love: These crutches are ergonomic to promote better posture and reduce pain. They are also shock absorbing, which provides more comfort and less chance of slipping.

What you should consider: Forearm crutches can feel different than traditional armpit crutches and may take some getting used to.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top crutches for the money

Millennial Medical Store The Life Crutch

Millennial Medical Store The Life Crutch

What you need to know: These affordable and durable crutches will give you plenty of bang for your buck.

What you’ll love: These budget-friendly crutches can support users up to 300 pounds and have foam rubber padding for more comfort in the armpit area. The crutch tips articulate to give you stability. 

What you should consider: These crutches are intended for short-term use only — for about 4 weeks or less.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Drive Medical Bariatric Steel Forearm

Drive Medical Bariatric Steel Forearm

What you need to know: These bariatric crutches from Drive Medical use supportive arm cuffs to keep patients as comfortable as possible.

What you’ll love: These crutches come with a durable steel construction and a 500-pound capacity, perfect for chronic muscular illnesses and weight-related mobility problems. The crutches are also easily customized for comfort.

What you should consider: There are quality control concerns about the expansion tubes and the arm cuffs.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Alex Kilpatrick writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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