AskDefine | Define crutches

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Plural of crutch

Extensive Definition

Crutches are medical tools used when a patient's leg or legs are injured or otherwise unable to support body weight. The word crutch can also refer to anything used by a person for psychological or emotional support, or to something used as an excuse not to engage in normal life activities.

Medical crutches


There are several different types of medical crutches: Emile Schlick, a french mechanical engineer, patented a walking stick (US patent number 1244249, filed Oct. 23, 1917) that provided an oblique support at the upper end for resting the forearm. This invention was first patented in France May 7, 1915. Philipp Cederstom patented a similar-looking cane crutch (US Patent 2192766). Finally, the invention of A. R. Lofstrand, Jr., who filed a patent in 1945, consists of an adjustable-length crutch. In the US, forearm crutches are also sometimes referred to as Lofstrands, Canadian crutches (since they are commonly used in Canada), elbow crutches or even Walk Easies (Walk Easy is a brand name). ; Strutters : These are a variation on under-arm crutches, incorporating large soles which remain flat on the floor or ground while the user walks. They allow for an improved walking gait, and distribute body weight to reduce the risk of nerve damage caused by underarm crutches.; Knee Support : These crutches are useful for patients whose injury or disability is below the knee. They allow the knee of the injured leg to be placed on a support, so the injured leg now points backward behind the patient. This style of crutch affords the patient the ability to have one or both hands free to carry objects. Upper thigh atrophy is also reduced because lhalf the patients weight is now supported by each thigh rather than one thigh and the arms.

Information on use

Several different gait patterns are possible, and the user chooses which one to use depending on the reason the crutches are needed. For example, a person with a leg injury generally performs a "swing-to" gait: lifting the injured leg, the patient places both crutches in front of himself, and then swings his uninjured leg to meet the crutches. Other gaits are used when both legs are equally affected by some disability, or when the injured leg is partially weight bearing.Sometimes a towel or some kind of soft cover is needed for underarm crutches to prevent under arm injury


  1. Wooden
  2. Steel/ other metals
  3. Aluminium
  4. Carbon fiber
  5. Titanium
crutches in German: Gehhilfe
crutches in Spanish: muleta
crutches in Dutch: Kruk (hulpmiddel)
crutches in Japanese: 松葉杖
crutches in Portuguese: muleta
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