Author Topic: Crutch Research  (Read 2840 times)

benjaminrigsby

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Crutch Research
« on: July 24, 2015, 04:41:32 AM »
Hello All:

I am a graduate student in Mechanical Engineering, and the lab I work in has been working to improve the crutch. I am interested in getting feedback on user experiences as well as improvements we are working on. If anyone is interested in helping answer some questions, let me know! :) I'm just trying to gauge interest right now. Hoping some of you guys can share.

Sunshine

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Re: Crutch Research
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2015, 08:25:31 AM »
I have CP and can't use crutches because the they are too light. I have wondered if weighting the lower end would make them easier to use eg a pendulum effect.

benjaminrigsby

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Re: Crutch Research
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2015, 09:04:30 AM »
Just so it's here, my contact is bsrigsby@mail.usf.edu (reposted with moderator permission).

One of the things I noticed from my limited experience with crutches was that it seemed like more weight would make them easier to control. Is that along the same lines you're thinking Sunshine? I'm an engineer, not a doctor. You'll have to pardon my ignorance. >biggrin<
« Last Edit: July 24, 2015, 03:52:44 PM by benjaminrigsby »

Yvette

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Re: Crutch Research
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2015, 10:16:42 AM »
Thomas Fetterman crutch tips are very heavy.  Perhaps that might help?

http://www.mustgetit.co.uk/pages/main.php

Sunshine

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Re: Crutch Research
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2015, 05:54:50 PM »
Ben,

I think it depends on why a person needs to use crutches or for that matter a walking stick. Cerebral Palsy is a neurological condition and so fine motor control is more difficult, also doing something that is repetative causes ever increasing muscles spasms eg when I am trying to walk my legs to tighten up and I trip over. If the core of the crutch or walking stick had weight that moved up when the crutch/stick was taken off the floor and then back down on the downstroke it might help get it in the right place at the right time.

Yvette,

The link failed to load so I Googled and it reminded me of how there are a lot more different tips/ferrells available these days when I first used a walking stick.

For the last few years my ability to walk is being compromised by symtoms of other conditions I have but if there is an improvement I would like to have a stick or crutches that worked better for me.

Edit too correct missing words eg legs
« Last Edit: July 24, 2015, 07:11:08 PM by SunshineMeadows »

Yvette

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Re: Crutch Research
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2015, 06:14:23 PM »
Sunshine, sorry about the link.

I have tried it again and found that if you click onto the link, you will see crutch tips on the left side - if you click on one of those it will take you to the pages.

Yvette

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Re: Crutch Research
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2015, 06:24:58 PM »
Quote
One of the things I noticed from my limited experience with crutches was that it seemed like more weight would make them easier to control.

Not necessarily. 

For some people yes.

But for others, we need something light because we don't have the strength in our arms to use heavy crutches.  I also have severe problems with my shoulders so could not use heavy crutches.

Ben, you will find that 'one size will not fit all'.  There are many disabilities and health issues which affect us all in different ways.

You need to develop a pair of crutches which are versatile and can be changed.

As well as standard crutches you need to look at 'gutter' crutches for people with problems with their hands.

benjaminrigsby

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Re: Crutch Research
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2015, 09:35:21 PM »
Currently the research is focused on implementing something called a kinetic shape on the crutch tip. A kinetic shape, when applied to a crutch, will take the weight of your body and use it to push you forward or backward. The amount and direction of push is controllable, and these features can be optimized for different situations; for instance, going up and down stairs or hills, running, strolling, etc. What I need to know before I move forward is, would crutch users be interested in something like this?

@Yvette: The first thing that we are trying to address is different scenarios (fast vs slow, uphill vs downhill vs flat). Then we can move on to more specific medical conditions and adapt the solution to those.

You need to develop a pair of crutches which are versatile and can be changed.

If we are thinking along the lines of just a tip at this time, is it better to make just the tip or would users want a whole modified crutch as well? The idea originally was to make just the tip, but I think some users may want a nice crutch along with it...

@Sunshine: You may also check out SandPads. They are obviously intended for sand, but I have seen a lot of users say they use them indoors as well. They are significantly heavier than both the Fetterman tips and the regular tips.

Cerebral Palsy is a neurological condition and so fine motor control is more difficult, also doing something that is repetative causes ever increasing muscles spasms eg when I am trying to walk my legs to tighten up and I trip over. If the core of the crutch or walking stick had weight that moved up when the crutch/stick was taken off the floor and then back down on the downstroke it might help get it in the right place at the right time.

That is out of the realm I'm working on right now, but definitely an interesting concept!

ditchdwellers

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Re: Crutch Research
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2015, 01:08:51 AM »
One thing to bear in mind is that not everyone uses two crutches.  I can only use one due to shoulder instability.  I don't know if that would have any impact on your design.
I prefer to buy a complete crutch to make it look more streamlined rather than having to buy different components in a mix and  match fashion.  One idea could be to offer a bespoke service where the customer can choose the type of tip, hand grip,  and cuff from a selection on offer with the finished product looking like it was designed to fit together rather than a miss matchex assortment.

benjaminrigsby

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Re: Crutch Research
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2015, 02:23:30 AM »
That's interesting, ditch. I will definitely take note of users who may have conditions similar to yours.

Would you say that having a packaged deal would be a common benefit for users looking at buying a higher end crutch/crutch tip?

ditchdwellers

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Re: Crutch Research
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2015, 05:04:17 AM »
I'm not sure how other people feel about their crutches,  but when I began using them permanently they became an extension of myself, in a similar way as a wheelchair user may feel about their chair.  I like to personalise my mobility aids, for example I bought a purple crutch for everyday use and it makes it more apparent that I have a disability rather than a temporary injury using grey nhs crutches.
There's quite a good selection of coloured and patterned crutches available,  but I don't know of any that let you choose the tip, grip and cuff. All users are individual in their likes, wants and needs. At the moment I find I have to compromise and go with the one that best suits me in terms of functionality and safety, but may not be my ultimate 'want'.
I sometimes think that designers forget that although safety and ease of use are of paramount importance,  sometimes we like to let a bit of our personalities shine through. I want fun and funky but need safe and easy to use. Something that combined the two would be great.

Yvette

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Re: Crutch Research
« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2015, 10:56:24 AM »

Yvette

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Re: Crutch Research
« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2015, 11:01:30 AM »
Starting with a crutch tip to use with one's current crutches would be good.

I bought a pair of 'Flexyfoot' ferrules to attach to my NHS crutches and they are really good. 

I couldn't afford to buy a pair of 'designer' crutches, but buying some really good ferrules has been a great help to my mobility.

http://www.flexyfoot.com/

benjaminrigsby

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Re: Crutch Research
« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2015, 04:56:09 PM »
Well, thank you both for you input! It sounds like having a "build your own crutch" as well as a couple packages might be the best solution. I will probably not be directly involved in the marketing process (that's assuming everything gets that far), but I have to design something people want to buy that meets their needs.

I will try to come up with a little questionnaire to create a more guided discussion so I'm not wasting your time. In the meantime, do you know a good way to contact more long term crutch users?

Hurtyback

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Re: Crutch Research
« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2015, 05:43:24 PM »
I also use just one crutch, mostly. A crutch feels far more stable than a stick but I find using a second one far more trouble than it is worth - can't even scratch my nose without having to stop!


I currently have a French design, I got them from ebay but they are not generally available in the UK. This was a problem when I needed new ferrules as they are not a standard size. Managed to get new ferrules and hand grips direct from the company, in return for writing a product endorsement (which I was happy to do). It's great that I can change the handgrips without needing to buy complete new crutches.


I think the idea of mix and match, to suit the user, is a really good one. A choice of colours and finishes would also be good.