Are Hands-Free Crutches Better for Injuries or Disabilities?
Everyone knows how tiring using crutches can be.
Chaffed armpits, painful balancing acts, and challenging bathroom trips are just a few reasons why regular crutches can get frustrating.
Hands-free crutches are designed to help you maintain mobility without losing the use of your hands. The concept of the hands-free crutch is definitely interesting, but how practical is it?
The problem is, not everyone uses crutches for the same reason. Some conditions such as multiple sclerosis and arthritis can confine people to crutches. Common short-term reasons for being on crutches include twisted ankles, broken bones, and other minor injuries.
The same types of crutches (underarm, lofstrand, etc.) are used to treat both kinds of physical impairments, but the same may not be true for hands-free crutches.
This article will take a look at how hands-free crutches work and how to tell if you’re suited for them.
How do hands-free crutches work?
Devices like the iWalk 2.0 claim to be universal, but in reality, you can only use it safely after meeting a few requirements.
First of all, using hands-free crutches takes a lot of upper body strength and balance. Instead of using the legs of crutch to support yourself, all your weight will be resting on the kneepad of the hands-free crutch. You’ll need to be able to balance yourself comfortably with one leg with only the kneepad for support.
Most healthy people can perform this act, which isn’t as hard as it sounds. If you have a broken ankle or some kind of foot injury, you should have no problem maintaining your balance with a hands-free crutch.
However, with a condition like muscular dystrophy chances are you won’t be able to balance your upper body safely with no support. Even old age can be a reason why this balancing won’t work for you. This is something to consider when thinking about hands-free crutches.
Does your injury or disability affect your strength?
A hands-free crutch like the iWalk 2.0 weighs 4.8 pounds. That may not sound like much, but you’ll have to lift it with each step you take. If your injury or disability has a weakening effect on your body, you might not be able to do this. You also may only be able to travel short distances on a hands-free crutch.
One advantage of crutches is the support your body gets when you lean on them. With hands-free crutches, you have the use of your hands, but there isn’t much room for support. You’ll have to assess your own strength honestly when considering a hands-free crutch. How far can you travel when lifting 4.8 pounds with each step? Is this something you can do comfortably?
What’s your body type?
Your body type will also be a factor that dictates if you can use a hands-free crutch. Most hands-free crutches can only handle around 250 pounds. If you’re overweight or even tall, you might not fit the iWalk 2.0.
Another thing to consider is if you have long limbs. Hands-free crutches are supposed to simulate your leg, so you need a proper fit to safely use the device. Long limbs hanging off the edge of the kneepad can cause issues with balance and safety.
Based on the reviews and what’s required to use hand free crutches safely, you’re better off using them for just for injuries.
When you have a disability or condition that affects your mobility, you cannot sacrifice your balance without putting your safety at risk.
Hands-free crutches try to emulate normal walking movements as much as possible, which takes away from the emphasis on mobility. Hands-free crutches are at their best when used for short to medium term injuries.