Hesperian Health Guides
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WARNING! Bearing weight under the arms like this can cause nerve damage that in time can lead to numbness and even paralysis of the hands.
|Teach the child to put weight on her hands, not on her armpits.
full weight on hands
|wrist drop from crutch pressure|
|One good way to make sure the child does not hang on the crutches with her armpits is to use elbow crutches like this.|
There are many designs for underarm crutches. Here we show a few.
CRUTCHES FROM TREE BRANCHES, padded with wild kapok
dowel 2½ cm. to 3½ cm.
2½ cm. if hard wood
3 cm. if soft wood
piece of rubber
Design from Poliomeyelitis, Huckstep.
¼ inch to ⅝ inch (6.5 mm. to 1.6 cm.) steel rod or ‘re-bar’
piece of tire
from Poliomeyelitis, Huckstep.
ADJUSTABLE WOOD CRUTCH
LEATHER ELBOW CRUTCH
|These crutches are easy to make and work well for children who have strong arms and hands.||
|A disadvantage is that if a child falls he may have trouble getting his arms out quickly.|
OTHER ELBOW CRUTCHES
USING LOCAL RESOURCES
bent bamboo or cane
Design from Philippines
piece of bamboo or plastic pipe
or heat and bend any piece of thick plastic
Design from PROJIMO
Gutter crutch (‘arthritis crutch’)
For children who, due to elbow pain or stiffness, cannot use straight-arm crutches.
|STANDARD||USING LOCAL RESOURCES||Crutch for a child with weak elbow-straightening muscles.|
bamboo or plastic
Bend ends of branch and bind them together
tree branch with forks
crutch top with deep notch
loop of leather or soft, strong cloth
These are only examples. Once you get the idea, you can invent your own. A lot of experimentation is often needed to adapt crutches for children with severe arthritis.
Canes and walking sticks
|Straight poles can help a child with balance problems.|
CAUTION! Use poles that are taller than child so if she falls, they will not poke her eyes.
|Canes. Simple canes provide some balance and support, but the child has to use the walking muscles in both legs.|
|For the child who needs to strengthen a weak or painful leg, a cane makes him use his leg. A crutch lets him avoid using his leg, so the muscles that bend his leg get stronger, rather than the ones that straighten it. (See Precautions in Providing a Child with Aids, Equipment and Procedures.)|
CANES CUT FROM FOREST PLANTS
ADJUSTABLE METAL TUBE CANE
3 OR 4 FOOTED CANE — FOR GREATER STABILITY
Rubber tip made from car tire for metal tube or bamboo crutch or cane
STANDARD CRUTCH AND CANE TIP