International Encyclopedia of Rehabilitation


Here are the main types of crutches used in rehabilitation:

axillary crutch :The most common kind of crutch, having a crossbar just below the axilla.

Canadian crutch : A wooden crutch that is slightly shorter than, but similar to, an axillary crutch. Its upper extremity consists of a leather cuff at or a little above mid-arm level. Suggested term: wooden triceps crutch.

crab crutch : A crutch with three or more tips.

Everett crutch : Aluminium variety of Canadian crutch. Named for Charles E. Everett, a patient of Warm Springs Foundation, Warm Springs, georgia, for whom the first crutch of this type was made. Aslo called Warm Springs crutch. Suggested term: metal triceps crutch.

folding crutch : Single upright metal crutch that can be folded at a joint just above the hand piece for use as a cane or for storage.

forearm crutch : Cane, usually made of aluminium, with hand piece pointing forward at a 90° angle and forearm extension deviating posteriorly at a 15° angle. At its upper end, reaching about two to three fingerbreadths below the elbow, is a hinged open cuff. Also called Lofstrand crutch.

Kenny crutch : Double upright wooden forearm crutch with leather cuff at the upper end. Named afetr Elizabeth Kenny (1886-1952), Australian nurse known as Sister Kenny.

Lofstrand Crunch : Forearm crutch. Named after Adolf Lofstrand, Rockville, Maryland, who developed it about 1944.

mat crutch : Shortened axillary crutch, the lowest part of which reaches to the level on which the user sits, i.e., the floor or an exercise mat. Mat crutches are used to prepare paraplegies or bilateral lower-limb amputees for regular crutches.

sling-top (axillary) crutch : An axillary crutch in which the rigid axillary crosspiece is replaced by a slinglike support, usually made of leather.

standard crutch : Axillary crutch, made of wood.

weighted crutch : Crutch made of heavy by lead or other means for easier studying of an uncoordinated upper limb. A good technique is to take a metal crutch and weight its hollow uprights with lead pellets.


Eisenberg MG. 1995. Dictionary of Rehabilitation. New York: Springer Publishing Company. 375 p. Used with permission.

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