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Crutches are a type of medical equipment used to help people who have suffered an injury to one of their feet, knees, ankles, or legs. Basically, they are a long bar that an individual can lean on in order to avoid using the leg on the side of the body that is hurt. These are normally recommended by a doctor for a patient to use temporarily so the afflicted area can rest and will not be harmed any further.
A crutch normally has a soft bar across the top which is placed underneath the armpit. There will usually then be two metal rods underneath this bar, which extend downward. Near the bottom, this bar typically turns into a single pole that has a rubber end, similar to a drain-stopper. A handle grip is usually located in the middle of the bar so the user can hold onto it. A patient has one crutch on each side of his body, most of the time.
Different types of devices are available for both children and adults. Even mobility aids designed for an adolescent are usually shorter in length than an adult's. Some devices are adjustable to accommodate differences in height. In some instances, a set can be custom made to fit a particular individual.
People who have never used any type of support for walking may have to learn how to use crutches. This is usually accomplished with practice. Normally a person places the bases of them slightly in front of the feet. He can then take the weight off of the injured extremity, and, with his arms, shift it onto the crutches. The body should swing forward between the crutches, in a slow, forward motion, with the uninjured foot or leg assisting in this movement.
This type of walking aid is not usually used for people who have a permanent disability. Most of the time, these individuals use a cane or walker to help them get around. These assistive devices are typically recommended for a period of around six to eight weeks, but can sometimes be used for as long as six months, if a person is slow to heal or has multiple injuries.
Crutches are not normally painful to use. Users may have some soreness under the arm initially, but this typically subsides after a few days. People who have had accidents involving their lower extremities might find them to be very beneficial in helping them get around, while they are recovering.