4 Different Types Of Crutches And Their Uses

We all know about crutches its help us walk even when we are injured in some parts of our lower body.

But not all injuries can be helped with any random crutches.

So let’s break them down and go through the available crutches types in short.

What Are the Different Types of Crutches?

Crutches have evolved significantly throughout the past decades.

On a general basis, we are more habituated to the crutch that patients use to shift their weight to their forearms.

But, this is not the only kind of crutch, and if you need something else, then in the following section we will show 4 types of crutches pictures and their uses.

See also: Best Crutches of 2021.

Axillary Crutches

axillary crutches

These are the most commonly seen crutches around, also known as underarm crutches.

They are mainly made of either wood or aluminum. This model can be adjusted easily with a patient’s overall height and hand height.

While operating on an axillary crutch, you need to be able to flex your elbow roughly about 30 degrees.

In any normal condition, the top of the crutch and armpit (axilla) should have a distance of about two to three fingers and on the ground 6 to 8 inches from your foot.

In any case of inability to stand up straight, you just need to shave 16 inches from your actual height to determine the height of your axillary crutch.

Forearm Crutches

forearm crutches

Forearm crutches or less popularly known as Lofstrand crutch and elbow crutch.

The cuff of the crutch has to be at a distance of 1 to 1.5 inches from the elbow. The forearm crutch enables the patient to flex from 15 to 30 degrees.

The bottom tip of the crutch should stay 2 to 4 inches from the foot sideways and 6 inches in front of your foot.

European countries commonly use these types of crutches.

IN the US, patients with cases of Polio or other lifelong disabilities have suggested these designs for their overall ergonomics and ease of use.

Gutter Crutches

gutter crutches

With a simple modification in forearm crutches, we can call gutter crutches. Rheumatoid patients are mostly known for using gutter crutches.

A gutter crutch will enable patients or older people to maintain balance and distribute their weight if they need to rely on tools to accomplish such a goal.

Comfortable and soft padded forearms are a gutter crutch’s specialty.

One adjustable handgrip and strap are connected to the highly durable metal tube. For the overall comfort of the hand, rubber ferrule is used.

A gutter crutch is usually prescribed to rheumatoid arthritis patients because of their weak grip due to joint pain.

Hands-free Crutch

hands free crutch

Hands-free crutches came into being from the adverse side effects of underarm crutches.

We’ve described underarm or axillary crutches before, and they are not friendly at all.

They are known to hurt your hands, underarms, and wrists from continuous and non-conventional uses.

So, to resolve these hands-free crutches were born. These are most commonly known as knee crutches.

These are designed for slightly less sensitive patients, but if they can use them they are almost as mobile as the next person.

These crutches don’t have any function for hands or wrists rather they can be strapped to the thigh and knee to provide support.

The base of the crutch is designed to sustain weight in one leg so this crutch is rather useful than underarm crutches.

What Are the Different Types of Crutch Gaits?

Gait is known as the way we walk forward. With crutches, our dual-legged style has to improvise a bit.

Using crutches enervates any strong user regarding their stamina.

Whether you’re bound to follow a non-weight bearing or partial weight-bearing pattern for using crutches – maintaining a gait is of utmost importance to get the maximum benefit from a crutch.

1 Crutch

When walking with a single crutch, you’d have to hold the crutch on the opposite hand and foot, and the base of the crutch must be at least 4 inches apart.

Walk on the crutch as if the crutch is another leg. While using stairs with one crutch, rely on the stair handle as much as possible.

2 Point Gait

A two-point gait will use two of the four available legs or crutch at once.

In a two-point gait pattern, the patient will use a pair of his available options – one crutch and one leg.

It can be a left leg and right crutch or a right leg and left crutch. Using each of these at a time the patient moves forward.

3 Point Gait

This is used in most cases where one leg is fine, and another one is restricted to use.

The unhealthy leg and the two crutches move in sync, and the other leg follows behind.

The crutches act as the support for one less leg and shift the weight elsewhere.

4 Point Gait

The 4 point gait is used where partial weight-bearing is possible. Steps in this gait look random.

The sequence I usually like is a right crutch – left foot – left crutch – right foot.

None of the points on the ground are in the same line.

Swing-to Gait

The patient puts pressure on both crutches while leaning them forward and pulls both legs towards the goal.

Partial weight-bearing has to be allowed in this gait.

Swing-through Gait

Same as the previous one, only both his legs are to be moved to cross the crutches in each step.

This gait covers the most distance at any single step.


Forgoing up and down the stairs, 2 point gait is most helpful.

But for injury one leg, 3 point gait may be used too. Relying on the hand railing is a good idea.

Always make sure to put your good leg first, and the injured leg lasts at any stair movement.


We’ve discussed 4 different types of crutches and their uses of different gaits to utilize these crutches to the fullest.

No matter what injury you are suffering from you can pick any of these mentioned crutches to accommodate your illness and continue to your daily life as prescribed by your attending physician.

The most important aspect of choosing a single crutches type is your comfort. The same can be said about the gaits.


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