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Difference Between Forearm Crutches and Underarm Crutches

banner image for underarm crutches vs. forearm crutches
Samyak Lalit
Samyak Lalit | October 9, 2017 (Last update: October 22, 2017)

Samyak Lalit is an author and disability rights activist. He is a polio survivor and the founder of projects like Kavita Kosh, Gadya Kosh, TechWelkin, WeCapable, Dashamlav and Viklangta Dot Com. Website:

People often feel confused when they have to select crutches. There are mainly two varieties of crutches available in the market. These are called forearm crutches and underarm crutches. While for some people the selection of crutches is a straightforward thing because of their specific condition; many people find that they can use both type of crutches. In such a scenario, the question arises as to which crutch is better? Knowing the difference between two types of crutches will help you select the one most suitable for your needs.

In today’s article, we are listing differences between forearm and underarm crutches. You will clearly see that forearm crutches have more benefits over underarm crutches. But you should consider your condition from all angles before selecting a pair of crutches for yourself.

Difference between forearm and underarm crutches

Following table highlights the major differences between these two types of crutches.

banner image for underarm crutches vs. forearm crutches

#Forearm CrutchUnderarm Crutch
1More compact and lighter in weight.Bulkier and a bit heavier in comparison.
2Balanced walk requires more practice.Body balance comes easier as underarm crutches are held in the armpits.
3These crutches do not cause Axillary Nerve Palsy.Regular long-time use of underarm crutches may cause Axillary Nerve Palsy. Use of these crutches put pressure on the axillary nerve and may cause damage to it.
4Help in maintaining better body posture.Long-term use may cause problems in body posture. Users tend to lean too forward and put lesser weight on their legs.
5Use of forearm crutches keeps your shirt clean!Regular use of underarm crutches can discolor and damage fabric of your shirt in the armpit area.
6Keeps you dapper!Underarm crutches tend to pull your shirt upward into the armpits. If you take a long walk, your neatly tucked-in shirt may get pulled up.
7Going up and down the stairs may be easier if you have practiced well.Using stairs is difficult because underarm crutches are longer and stuck right into your armpits.
8Maneuverability is higher in case of forearm crutches.Relatively less maneuverable.
9Easier to sit down and getting up.Taking underarm crutches out of armpits is more tedious as you sit on a chair.
10After sitting, you can easily keep forearm crutches under the table as they are shorter and more compact.After you’ve sit on a chair, holding underarm crutches or tucking them away is tedious due to their length.
11Forearm crutches allow you more types of gaits.There are not many options when it comes to gait using underarm crutches.
12Allow you to bend easily to pick something up.You will have to remove at least one crutch from your armpit in order to bend.

Selecting right type of crutches for yourself is a crucial decision as it can affect your daily life. Also it can have long term effects of your body. You should consult your physiotherapist before making a decision. It is always better to try both underarm and forearm crutches and then you choose whichever suits you more.

These were the major differences between underarm and forearm crutches. We hope this article will be useful for you. Please share your personal experience so that other WeCapable readers may benefit from it. Sharing helps us all!

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