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Whilst all care is taken to provide accurate information with respect to the item described, the Independent Living Centre (ILC) is not involved in product design or manufacture, and therefore not in a position to guarantee the accuracy of the information provided. Selection of equipment, which is both suitable and appropriate for individual needs remains the responsibility of the person(s) considering requisition, and no responsibility is taken by the ILC for any loss or injury caused through use of the equipment or alleged to have arisen through reliance upon information provided. As information is subject to change any enquiries should be directed to the manufacturer.

Item Details

A Guide To Selecting Crutches

ILC Reference NO 42:22:999
Item sourced from ILC WA database

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Short Description
This guide provides general information to assist in the selection of crutches.

Walking aids are used by a variety of people for different reasons including:
- those recovering from injuries relating to partial to complete non weight bearing through the injured limb.
- people with reduced balance, strength or endurance when walking.
- people with pain or instability in any weight bearing joint used in walking.

It is important that the correct walking aid is selected to suit an individuals abilities and personal requirements.

The Independent Living Centre recommends that you seek the advice of a physiotherapist in the selection, fitting and in learning the correct use of any walking aid.

Price Guide
Refer to supplier details for pricing

More Details
Crutches are available in fixed height or adjustable height models. They should be fitted to the correct height to obtain maximum benefit and to maintain posture. The adjustable height models use a push pin adjustment to select the appropriate height.

A variety of hand grips are available. The diameter and shape of the handle must be comfortable and the user should be able to maintain a strong grip.

The ferrule at the base of the crutch should be checked regularly for wear and must be replaced before the rubber is worn out.

Models / Styles
Several types of crutches are available to suit individual needs.

Axilla or Underarm Crutches
These styles of crutches can be used when non weight bearing is required or in the early stages of partial weight bearing. Be aware that axilla crutches require more physical effort than elbow or forearm crutches but they may be more suitable for those with little trunk control or balance problems.

Elbow Crutches
These are generally used when partial weight bearing is required but may also be suitable for non weight bearing. These cause less strain on the wrists than axilla crutches, however a good grip is necessary. Also note that elbow crutches cannot be used if there is more than a 40 degrees fixed flexion deformity at the elbow.

Forearm (Gutter) Crutches
These are often suitable for a person who is unable to take weight through standard hand grips because of painful and / or deformed hands and wrists, or flexion contractures of the elbow. They can be unstable if too much weight is taken through them.


Straight Hand Grip
These hand grips are straight and are commonly made of plastic. Foam hand grips are also available to provide additional comfort.

Contoured Hand Grips
These hand grips spread more pressure over a wider area than a conventional hand grip and may be more comfortable for a person with weak or painful hands. Generally these types of hand grips are available on elbow crutches only.

Australian And Other Standards
For some types of equipment, specific Australian Standards are applicable to the materials used in, and the manufacturing and installation of products. Compliance with relevant Standards is indicated by written certification that a product has been tested and assessed as compliant with specified Australian Standards. Purchasers are advised to check with the supplier or manufacturer of an item as to its compliance with the relevant Australian Standard(s).

Further Sources Of Information
Walking Aids. Karcz, J. Independent Living magazine. August 1998

For specific product information and further advice please contact the Independent Living Centre of WA.

Supplier Information - click to supplier for contacts details

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