What Are Lofstrand Crutches? Should You Use Them?
Lofstrand crutches are a colloquial name given for forearm crutches.
Lofstrand was one of the first companies to produce forearm crutches in the 1950’s.
This new type of crutch was a big advancement for crutches as Lofstrand crutches boasted many advantages over traditional underarm crutches.
Since the term “forearm crutches” wasn’t popular, most people referred to the new type of crutches as Lofstrand crutches.
Lofstrand crutches are also referred to as elbow crutches or forearm crutches. This type of crutch is not to be confused with Canadian crutches.
The first Lofstrand forearm crutches were designed to be heavy duty. With cuffs crafted from metal and covered in vinyl, this new type of crutch became a more viable option for people who used crutches on a long-term basis.
The first Lofstrand crutches had adjustable cuffs and were able to safely support people over 200 pounds.
Nowadays, forearm crutches are generally made with lighter materials, such as aluminum tubing.
The vinyl handgrips still remain in the design, upgraded with finger grips moulded into the handles.
Small advancements such as covering the bottom of the crutch in aluminum pivot blocks help to make modern Lofstrand crutches safer and more durable.
Advantages of Lofstrand crutches
- Forearm crutches are easier for young children to use because of better weight distribution compared to traditional crutches.
- Lofstrand crutches are more suitable as a long-term option. After you overcome the initial learning curve you’ll be able to move more fluidly than possible with auxiliary crutches.
- Forearm crutches also give you more options for developing your own walking style.
- Underarm crutches aren’t as flexible and may be even be painful for some people to use, depending on their body types.
- You need more strength to be able to use elbow crutches. Your upper body strength will increase over time, which is obviously great for your overall health.
- Elbow crutches are also more convenient for rough terrain or uneven surfaces. You can still retain an active lifestyle using this type of crutch.
- Forearm crutches put less pressure on your wrists, making them a great option for those suffering from arthritis or other conditions that cause weak joints.
Fitting Lofstrand Crutches
Making sure you have properly sized elbow crutches is key to getting the most out of them.
When forearm crutches are improperly fitted, they can cause muscle pain, scraping of your skin, and in extreme causes, nerve damage.
When fitting elbow crutches, first stand in an upright position. Adjust the cuffs of the crutches so that your arms can comfortably fit while bent at a 15 to 30 degree angle.
You should be able to comfortably stand upright with your elbows bent in this position in the cuffs.
Check out these crutch alternatives here.