Post updated to reflect updates to the manufacturer’s website.
I recently acquired a forearm crutch because of fatigue and pain in my legs. Walkers are too difficult for me to maneuver, including hemi walkers, and canes hurt like hell. I realize that anything I use will stress my hand or arm, but at least the forearm support would mean I wouldn’t have to grip it so tightly or flex my wrist so much. I also wanted something with a more ergonomic anatomical grip. I decided on the Millennial forearm crutch. It’s marketed as ergonomic because of the contour and downward tilt of the grip as well as the shock absorbing spring in the bottom of the shaft.
I like this company. Not only will they sell you a single crutch if you ask them, but they can also sell you a pair of right or left handed crutches if you want a spare. NOTE: You need to place your order by phone for either option because they don’t mention single crutches on their website. A single crutch costs about $59, and a pair is $119. The crutches come in black, blue, or red.
Before I could use it, I had to do some minor tweaking. IMPORTANT: You might need to ask for help with assembly or height adjustment. For me, it took a long time to snap the cuff in one handed because it was hard to brace the crutch as I did so. My hand ached for a bit afterward.
The composite cuff can be changed to a larger or smaller size, and it shipped with the larger size, which doesn’t quite work as a default if you’re too underweight. I had to order the smaller cuff, which works better, especially after putting Crutcheze padding on it. (If you’re crafty, you could probably do the padding yourself.)
I like the cuff; you put it on your arm by bending your elbow slightly above it, then straightening it so that your forearm pushes through the V in front. It’s a closed or “full” cuff, meaning it stays on your arm when you reach for something or open a door. Freeing my good hand is critical. And since the cuff is hinged, you have more freedom of movement. There’s a reason the cuff was tough for me to snap in: it then becomes tough to snap out. It has every intention of staying securely in the bracket while it moves; I don’t worry about it coming off or getting loose.
With proper support at the cuff, I could lessen my grip, which is important. The handle is a shaped anatomical grip that tilts downward and positions your thumb so that your wrist is straight. I barely grip it; it feels more like the swing of my arm when I walk (though somewhat heavier, of course, but the crutch is very light aluminum). It does feel more comfortable than the cane I used occasionally a few years ago until my hand made me stop; I hardly feel an impact against the ground at all. I do occasionally hear a click, which is presumably the shock absorption. It’s more rhythmic than annoying — to me, anyway. The tip pivots a little so as to meet the ground accurately, so it feels stable.
The “received wisdom” is that you should hold a cane or crutch in the hand opposite the affected leg. That doesn’t apply to me. Even though the pain is in my right leg too, I don’t notice any instability by wearing the crutch on my right arm. If anything, for now it seems to help me distribute my weight — my left leg can’t take its full weight to begin with, so using the crutch on my right supports the left side more, which enables me to ease my right leg a little. That rationale isn’t perfect, but it’s the best I can do. I aim to use the crutch only when things are really bad because I still want to spare my arm as much as possible, ergonomic features or no. But when I have to use it, at least I know I won’t be doing much damage.