When it comes to any mobility form of disability, 80% of people prefer to use crutches. Unlike cranes and the walker, crutches incorporate both of their main and top benefits – perfect storage solution and a great way of walking aid.
However, like any other accessory that lets you reduce the weight bearing, crutches, unfortunately, come with their own weak points, too. Usually, doctors group them in different charts, but they are all types of a side of effects.
These side effects might be either caused by the long-term use of crutches, or they are just normal consequence of the usage. In all cases, there are lots of programs and tricks that can help you avoid or at least reduce the level of at least 80% of these side effects.
Listening to all of your doctor’s tips as to how to use crutches, as well as keeping being strict to the manufacturer’s pieces of advice regarding the maintenance can also minimize the side effects. Though, it takes lots of efforts, patience, and practice till you get to that desired level of usage with no complications.
On the other side, it is a must for everyone, who’s using crutches to be familiar about the side effects. Only when knowing and understanding them you can do both: avoid them or minimize the level of pain or discomfort.
This is why our today’s main mission is to let you get familiar with the most common complications of using crutches. These side effects should be always taken under consideration even if you have been using the crutches for a couple of months and none of them are caused yet. In all cases, prevention is the best cure, you know!
Now, let us list you the top side effects and complications you can eventually meet when using crutches:
1. Skin irritation
This is a very common complication for both: people, who use crutches just for rehabilitation, as well as those, who are about to apply them in everyday life for the long term. Basically, the part of the crutches that causes the skin irritation is the saddle.
The irritation appears at the axilla or the underarm. Meanwhile, the materials that are the riskiest ones for skin irritation as artificial leather and wood. Cushions are a great idea to add to the saddles in order to minimize the effect of chaffing and rubbing.
Even though similar to skin irritation, soreness is another skin problem you can experience when using crutches. What distinguishes them, though, is the fact that soreness is the consequence of non-cured skin irritation.
Basically, soreness can be eliminated as a side effect of using crutches when you take care of the saddles. Though, soreness can appear in ribs, too, which is a matter of the wrong usage of crutches.
Bruises appear on ribs, too. However, they usually have nothing to do with the saddles and basically, cushions cannot prevent them. On the other side, bruised ribs can be caused because of the wrong maintenance of the saddle when you literally do not do anything about keeping the crutches in proper shape and in top condition.
4. Nerve system damages
By all means, this might be the most dangerous and frustrating side effect you will learn you might have even before getting on your brand new, as well as first crutches in life. However, don’t panic. Usually, the damages on the nerve system are complications that are very rare.
If you use old-fashioned conventional crutches, know that they will come with an extended length which provides significantly higher stress. Over prolonged usage, this intense pressure can cause severe damage to the nerve system.
Sometimes, such a side effect can also cause neuropathy or crutch palsy for the brachial plexus. Make sure you feel comfy when you get on the crutches from the very first time you test them. Those crutches that feel too clumsy in the store lead to nerve system damages.
5. Different injuries
According to the International Orthopaedic Association every 2 from 6 people, who use crutches, get an injury either in the very beginning or once they believe they are used with the walking aids but are fully ready to perform extra difficult movements.
In all cases, the injuries might vary depending on the wrong way of usage you apply in your everyday life. Sometimes, the injury can be even caused on the leg that has gone through an intervention, as well as the healthy leg or even the back.
Though, the most common injuries when using crutches are those caused on the hand, as well as on the wrist. Those who use the crutches for a very long period of time, get their hands injured because of the stress caused on hands instead of the rest body zones that “are thought” to share this stress with hands.
Attention: people who have heart problems or weakness, it may end up in providing cardiac arrest. On mandatory, discuss your chronic condition with your doctor before being recommended for the best crutches to buy.
6. Artery problems
The artery damages are not so often, but still existing complications in case of using crutches for long-term rehabilitation. People, who have overweight issues, are at risk for such a side effect.
Meanwhile, even if you are of normal weight, never forget to put further stress on weight-bearing crutches. This significantly additional pressure induces increased pressure on the arteries.
By all means, you should not worry about such a complication if you are prescribed to use crutches for not more than a month. Usually, the atrophy is a serious risk for people who need to use the crutches for a longer period of time.
In short, the atrophy appears on the entire lower side of your body. The leg or the zone of the leg that has been cured or gone through surgery is at the biggest risk. The more you don’t use this zone, the bigger the risk of the atrophy becomes.
A long break triggers the atrophy of the muscles due to the lack of weight-bearing exercise. It gradually weakens the muscles which allow diminished flexibility along with natural fatigue. The crutch helps you to heal the injury of the lower part and again, causes deterioration of the leg muscle at the same time.
8. Serious mobility detention
Once again, it is a risk for people who are prescribed to use crutches for a longer period of time. Indeed, the crutches are traditional walking aids which make the association they let you perform mobility at a slower, but safer manner.
However, you should find that balance between the attempt to slow down your lifestyle in order to recover faster and the necessity of keeping your muscles in top shape.
Sometimes, doctors prescribe specially tailored exercises for the home to perform in order not to lose the ability to maintain your normal mobility speed. If you are recommended to perform such exercise, please, make sure not to underestimate them.
9. Lack of desire to walk
This is an emotional complication 50% of patients who use crutches experience. In short, it is that state of mind that lets you depress and think you will not use your legs again.
Do not underestimate this complication as it is not just a mood to suppress. Sometimes, the spirit of mind is the biggest cure and power that lets you recover faster.
The first thing you need to do in order to overcome it is simply to understand that in 99% of the cases crutches are not prescribed for a lifetime. They are just the transistors for your future normal lifestyle.
Use them in the right way and during the period of time your doctor has told you to and in the end, you will see that everything is fine.
In most cases, crutches come with crucial acceptance to make quick and effective rehabilitation. It would help if you concerned about the reduction of the side effects of using crutches as far as possible.
This is why, if you are in the necessity of having a pair of crutches, choose with utmost care. Everything is about the right approach and the right following of all the tips and prescriptions you have got from your physician. The rest is about your state of mind!