Do you get a pain in your wrist from using crutches?

I have been using elbow crutches for three or so years, and am getting an increasingly frequent and increasingly sharp pain in my left wrist - on the opposite side to my thumb.

I am right handed, but my right side is significantly weaker than my left.

Consequently I use my left crutch most of the time, and the right one only when unavoidable (e.g. distances of more than 10 yards out of doors)- in order to avoid damage to my right hand - which I use for very precise drawing.

Has anyone else had pain resulting from using crutches?

Have you found a solution?

Should I try to use my hot and uncomfortable wrist splints with crutches (I only wear them at night)?

I have just found something called Smartcrutches online. Apparently your weight is taken by your forearms rather than your wrists, and the "bendy" ferrule accommodates itself to uneven surfaces.

Has anyone tried them ? I would really like to know from someone who has tried them if they actually do what is claimed - before shelling out about £100 !

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16 Replies

  • I get a pain in my right wrist and thumb just from using a walking stick.

    I thought it was a bit OTT for me but neurologist recommended an enclosed walking frame of the type used by Parkinson's patients.

    He did tell me that at one time he owned the company.

  • Hi Amanita

    Hope you're doing well.

    I used a walking stick for a while, but now I use a pair of walking poles - like the ones hikers use when trekking. I find they are more sturdier and they give better control for balance as they are longer. I find they make my wrists sore though - it will probably ease off as I'm not used to them yet. They're lighter than a walking stick which is good - but when I used a stick, people where very courteous and helpful because they knew you were disabled. They aren't with a walking pole, as they don't associate that with a disability . Not their fault. Hopefully, my ability to cope with losing my balance will improve . I'll have to use both - and pick the appropriate purpose I use each one for.

  • Thank you, Jealousone.

    A walking stick never worked with my weak wrists, so when I really needed help with balance, I used poles for a while ( at least they didn't "look disabled"), but found them hard work for wrists, which began to protest, and graduated to a single elbow crutch. This was a huge improvement for maybe a year, before I needed two for distances further than house-to-car. But it's almighty hard if you need to carry stuff !

  • Thank you, Seasider,

    I looked up that walking frame, and it looks excellent for indoors (it should be at that price!), but it doesn't look as though it could cope too well with gravelly paths or slightly uneven grass - and at c.10kg it is the maximum weight I can lift just off the floor, so would not be able to heave it in and out of my car.

    I think a walking stick is much harder to use than an elbow crutch, if you have weak wrists - I simply couldn't keep it steady enough to lean on.

    I do use a (rather more basic) walker indoors between my bed and the bathroom, and find it excellent when less than fully awake.

  • No it is for outdoor use. Did you watch the video on the site.

  • Yes, thanks, I did. The kerb climbing looks too good to be true - though I see the lady gives it a good hard shove. ! Looks as though you have to walk backwards to go down a kerb. Although they say it is suitable for bumpy ground they don't show grass or gravel. The surfaces in all the videos are actually pretty smooth. I am sure it is brilliant, especially with the arm-rests that relieve your wrists of the weight, but I am still not convinced it is the solution for me, especially as i would not be able to get it in and out of my car.

    Thank you, though.

  • You can get cheaper walkers if you have insurance they will cover cost but have to have doctor's approval you can also put a claim in for pre-approval if you need to make sure mine was 365$ Canadian so there is cheaper and good quality out there

  • It may be that due to your using the left more than the right you are causing increased pressure/weight to be put on the left side. Using both equally would spread the pressure equally and not put so much on just one. I do not know if I am saying this right.

    I know that if you limp on one leg it can cause the other side (hip, knee) to wear out faster. My brother had an accident when he was young and due to the severity one leg was a bit shorter than the other. He got shoes that were taller on that side but he always has a bit of a limp. Many years after the accident the knee on the opposite leg went bad and he had to have a knee replacement. He asked the doctor why the opposite knee and the doctor said that he had always put the majority of his weight on the opposite knee, which is common and that knee finally wore out due to double the use.

  • Thank you, Morilyn,

    I am quite sure that the wrist pain is due to the fact that some of the time I am using one crutch, and for distances further than house to car, I do indeed need to use both now, but am worried about causing any damage to my right wrist or my right (drawing) hand, which is weaker than the left. Also it is almighty difficult to carry stuff when you are using two crutches !

    Interesting you should mention leg length discrepancy. Mine was discovered about 5 years ago when I had my CMT diagnosis and was sent off to the orthotist ( that's just how it is, no known cause or reason), and since then I have had a raise of 11mm incorporated into my L. sole. Maybe this is why I am looking forward (with a degree of trepidation) to a R hip replacement in the next six months....

    For really "long" walks (100 m or more) I now have a power chair, and am just starting to adjust to the freedom it will give me - but I should still like to know if there are any "wrist-friendly" crutches out there......

  • I've only had my power chair for five weeks ( Roma Medical Marbella) and it is seldom a comfortable ride due to our patchwork uneven pavements.

    Many of our residential roads have old trees where the roots spread across the pavement. Even our promenade is bumpy.

  • Yes, I see what you mean. I will have to research that. My family and friends always ask me to research things, because they know I like doing it.😄

    I hope there is something out there that can work for you.

  • I googled "wrist friendly crutches" and saw some forearm crutches that might put less stress/pressure on your wrists. One that looks promising is the M+D Crutches.

    You may have already done this, just thought that it might help.

  • Sounds like possibly carpel-tunnel syndrome for your wrist? Repetitive movement in the same position. I started wearing a compression glove on my hand I hold the cane and it helped a lot. Best wishes to you!

  • Many thanks, Sally,

    I know next to nothing about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome so looked it up. It apparently mainly affects your thumb and maybe index and middle fingers, but my pain is on the opposite side of my wrist from my thumb, just beyond the distal end of my ulna.

    Thank you for your good wishes. I'm glad you found a way of helping the pain in your hand.

  • Many thanks, Morilyn,

    They look great but I see no sign of them being available in the UK. However the principle of your forearms taking your weight instead of your wrists and hands is similar to the theory behind Smartcrutches - which are available over here.

    I was hoping to find someone who had actually tried them but no luck so far.

  • Use a walker as you will end up damaging your shoulder I am learning that the hard way 3 plus years on crutches because I couldn't get surgery on my hip and could not walk without aid finally went to walker had surgery year ago but find need to be extra careful as no balance etc. Due to CMT but that's life lived with it for years so ......

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