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Common Problems with Crutches and What to Do About Them

Despite crutches being a tool to aid in a more bearable recovery, there are still common problems with traditional crutches that have yet to be resolved. 

In this quick read, we’ll address the most common problems with crutches and provide you with proactive ways to prevent or resolve them.

Sore Armpits

One of the most common questions we get is, “How do I stop my armpits from hurting with crutches?” 

The best way to prevent your armpits from getting sore during your recovery period is to make sure you’re using your crutches correctly. Don’t wedge the armrests right into your armpits, but rather, position them just below the armpits. It’s also not a bad idea to add some extra padding to the armrests and grips.

Also, make sure that your armrests are as high as they should be. When standing straight, the tops of your crutches should reach about 1-2 inches just below your underarms.

Shoulder Pain from Crutches

Shoulder pain from crutches is quite common, but this problem isn’t as easy to correct as adding extra padding or adjusting the height of your crutches. 

If you’re experiencing shoulder pain from crutches, it could be that you’re letting most of the work fall to the tops of your arms. You need to distribute the labor evenly between your hands, arms, and upper body. Pay close attention to how the rest of your body feels when you use your crutches so you can determine where you’re not evenly distributing the pressure.

Rib Pain from Crutches

Rib pain from crutches can be the result of a few different issues. 

Either your crutches are sized incorrectly, which is forcing you to hunch over and strain your core far more than you need to, or you’re angling your crutches incorrectly.

Take a few steps with your crutches to determine which problem is causing your rib pain. Are you hunched over too far or are your crutch tops resting against your rib cage instead of your underarms? Perhaps both?

Fortunately, there is a simple solution to either scenario. Resize your crutches so that the tops are 1-2 inches below your armpit (when standing straight up) and the handgrips are level with your hips. If you’re angling your crutches wrong, simply position the crutch tips closer to your feet (about a foot away on either side).

Hand Pain from Crutches

Hand pain from crutches is one of the most common complaints we hear. 

There are a few different solutions depending upon the cause of your pain, so it may take some experimenting to discover the root of the problem.

First and foremost, make sure your crutches are sized correctly, with the grips parallel to your hip bones. How is the padding? If you’re using an old pair of crutches, the padding may be worn and ineffective. If that’s the case, all you need to do is buy some new padding online or at any medical supply store.

The best solution is to use your crutches correctly. This may seem like a no-brainer, but all of the complications we’ve discussed can be a result of improper crutch use. To make sure you’re using your crutches the right way, use these tips:

1) Balance your weight on your good side and place both of your crutches a short distance in front of you, with one on each side of your body.

2) Place your crutch tips firmly on the ground and lean into them as you swing your legs through the middle.

3) Plant your uninjured foot on the floor ahead of the crutches, balance, and then swing the crutches a short distance in front of your leg.

4) Do not attempt to rush or take long strides, as this will cause unnecessary strain and pressure on your upper body.

5) Maintain a steady rhythm to keep your momentum going and to avoid moving too quickly without realizing it.

One Pain-Free Solution to Common Problems with Crutches

You can resize your crutches, stock up on extra padding, give yourself plenty of rest between physical exertion, use your crutches correctly, and still, it is possible for the pain to persist. Our upper bodies simply weren’t designed to withstand so much physical labor on a daily basis.

If your pain and discomfort persist, consider switching that pair of clunky crutches for a more efficient and comfortable option: the iWALK2.0

Our hands-free crutch alternative can provide you with the freedom and relief you need for a better recovery period. Learn more about this crutch alternative today!