AskDefine | Define crutch

Dictionary Definition

crutch

Noun

1 a wooden or metal staff that fits under the armpit and reaches to the ground; used by disabled person while walking
2 anything that serves as an expedient; "he uses drugs as a psychological crutch"

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Pronunciation

Noun

  1. A device to assist in motion as a cane, especially one that provides support under the arm to reduce weight on a leg.
    He walked on crutches for a month until the cast was removed from his leg.
  2. Something that supports, often used negatively to indicate that it is not needed and causes an unhealthful dependency; a prop
    Alcohol became a crutch to help him through the long nights; eventually it killed him.

Translations

device to assist in motion as a cane
something that supports

Extensive Definition

Crutches are medical tools used when a patient's leg or legs are injured or otherwise unable to support body weight. The word crutch can also refer to anything used by a person for psychological or emotional support, or to something used as an excuse not to engage in normal life activities.

Medical crutches

Types

There are several different types of medical crutches: Emile Schlick, a french mechanical engineer, patented a walking stick (US patent number 1244249, filed Oct. 23, 1917) that provided an oblique support at the upper end for resting the forearm. This invention was first patented in France May 7, 1915. Philipp Cederstom patented a similar-looking cane crutch (US Patent 2192766). Finally, the invention of A. R. Lofstrand, Jr., who filed a patent in 1945, consists of an adjustable-length crutch. In the US, forearm crutches are also sometimes referred to as Lofstrands, Canadian crutches (since they are commonly used in Canada), elbow crutches or even Walk Easies (Walk Easy is a brand name). ; Strutters : These are a variation on under-arm crutches, incorporating large soles which remain flat on the floor or ground while the user walks. They allow for an improved walking gait, and distribute body weight to reduce the risk of nerve damage caused by underarm crutches.; Knee Support : These crutches are useful for patients whose injury or disability is below the knee. They allow the knee of the injured leg to be placed on a support, so the injured leg now points backward behind the patient. This style of crutch affords the patient the ability to have one or both hands free to carry objects. Upper thigh atrophy is also reduced because lhalf the patients weight is now supported by each thigh rather than one thigh and the arms.

Information on use

Several different gait patterns are possible, and the user chooses which one to use depending on the reason the crutches are needed. For example, a person with a leg injury generally performs a "swing-to" gait: lifting the injured leg, the patient places both crutches in front of himself, and then swings his uninjured leg to meet the crutches. Other gaits are used when both legs are equally affected by some disability, or when the injured leg is partially weight bearing.Sometimes a towel or some kind of soft cover is needed for underarm crutches to prevent under arm injury

Materials

  1. Wooden
  2. Steel/ other metals
  3. Aluminium
  4. Carbon fiber
  5. Titanium
crutch in German: Gehhilfe
crutch in Spanish: muleta
crutch in Dutch: Kruk (hulpmiddel)
crutch in Japanese: 松葉杖
crutch in Portuguese: muleta

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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