The physical medicine department of Conemaugh Valley Memorial Hospital, Johnstown, Pa., in cooperation with a crutch manufacturer, has made the first major improvement in axillary crutches since the current adjustable crutch was designed about 15 years ago.
Most persons who use axillary crutches quickly develop considerable soreness of the thenar eminence. Some patients have had to return to nonambulatory status because of thumb soreness, when an attempt was made to use crutches too soon. Many persons who routinely use axillary crutches develop painful calluses over the thenar eminence and numbness of the entire thumb. This additional disability is caused by the nonanatomic angle of the crutch handgrip (fig. 1).
When the normal wrist dorsiflexes in order to push against a handgrip, a line across the "heel" of the palm forms an angle of about 60 degrees with the length of the radius. This is at an angle of 30 degrees
Wiley BC. CRUTCH WITH SLOPING HANDGRIP. JAMA. 1960;172(7):694–695. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.63020070001015
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