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Rachael Lowe and Laura Ritchie  



Crutches are a type of Walking_Aids that serve to increase the size of an individuals Base of support.

Types of crutches

There are 2 main types of crutches; axillary crutches and elbow crutches.

Axillary crutches is a misnomer because they should not be placed in the axilla at all. They should actually be positioned against the latissimus dorsi, about 5cm below the axilla. Axillary crutches have been removed from use in some developed countries because of the high number of patients who sustain nerve damage as a result of incorrect positioning of the crutch.

Elbow crutches are the more commonly seen aluminium crutches with the guards that sit just below, surprisingly, the elbow joint.


It is essential that crutches are measured and adjusted to suit every patient they are given to. The following is the correct way to measure the height of crutches:

  1. Ensure your patient is standing as upright as possible.
  2. The patients arms should be hanging comfortably at their sides.
  3. Place the crutch parallel to the arm.
  4. Adjust the height of the grip so that it is level with the styloid process of the ulna (about 2cm above the wrist joint).

Walking pattern


There are several different walking patterns that an individual using crutches may use, including:

  • 2 point
  • 3 point
  • 4 point


The use of crutches may be indicated if a patient:

  • Has lost the use of a limb (it is either injured or amputated).
  • Is having problems with Balance.

See also

Recent Related Research (from Pubmed)


References will automatically be added here, see adding references tutorial.

  1. Anamaria Siriani de Oliveira. Ambulation Patterns with Assistive Aids. Available from: [last accessed 22/03/13]