The Adjustable Crutch Forearm Support Shelf: For the Patient With Both Arm and Leg Injury
Jack R. Pava, C.O. *
In my 36 years' experience as an Orthotist, it was only recently that I had an inquiry for a forearm support for a crutch. Yet at this writing, I have made three. It seems the medical profession just did not imagine it possible to get their patients with arm and leg involvement out of bed, using crutches. My first inquiry was for a below-elbow amputee with a leg injur). The next case was for a patient with one arm in a cast who had just had part of his fool amputated, due to an accident. The third request was for a patient with just a sprained wrist and a sprained ankle. None of these cases could bear weight on one hand to be able to use crutches. My design enabled these people to become ambulatory much sooner, thereby improving their morale, as well as allowing their earlier release from the hospital.
To eliminate the problem of exact measurements between the axilla and elbow-forearm weight-bearing surface, this support shelf is attached to a wood, adjustable crutch by two small wood screws. Extra holes were drilled into the crutch upright 3/8" apart for the finer adjustment at the time of delivery. Because of its design, it will securely support the weight of any patient as the weight on the crutch shelf is thrust against the uprights of the crutch, thus minimizing the strain on the wood screw.
Fig. 1, Fig. 2
The accompanying photographs and sketch should be sufficient for duplication; however, the following materials are all that are necessary:
1/8" 24ST Aluminum, heated to the temperature that will melt solder and then quenched to reduce brittleness while shaping, as per sketch
1/2" sponge rubber for padding where the arm rests
1 1/2" truss elastic strap sewed to a metal bar on the inside of the shelf
Truss buckle, together with a stud, for holding the forearm in place on the shelf
2 wood screws to secure shelf to crutch uprights
This simple device was enthusiastically received by both the referring doctors and the patients. Upon mentioning it to other orthopedic specialists, they reported they had often had cases with the similar involvement but just did not realize there was any appliance that could be made to solve the problem of earlier ambulation for these cases.