A stick or a crutch?

Hi, I have inflammatory arthritis with Crohn’s disease. It affects my elbows, wrists, some fingers, ankles, toes and my knees are particularly bad and have been known to give way. For this reason I have been using a stick with a moulded handle in case of falling but I find this hurts my wrist and shoulder. I’m wondering whether I would be better off with a crutch or crutches? Has anyone got any experience of this and what works best for them please? Thanks in advance…


  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,600

    It's difficult, isn't it? I have RA in most joints and have never been able to use crutches because of my shoulder problems. But, equally, I can't grasp sticks and find NHS ones impossibly heavy. A couple of years ago I bought a rollator to help me walk further. It was a great success even though I couldn't grip the handles, only lay my hands on them, so I'd to beware of a crosswind taking it away from me😆 Now that I'm increasingly wobbly I use it indoors too. I also, on my better days, use my Dad's old lightweight wooden stick with a cricket bat grip over the handle. But i don't think this would work outdoors as I have to hold it in front of me with both hands.

    Any good disability store ought to be able to sdvise you and let you try things out on the premises.

    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 29,020

    Hi @SueG5 nice to meet you😊

    I have a stick, crutches and walking poles. All hurt different bits of me at times so I swap around!

    My favourite really are the crutches they seem to take more of the strain off and I feel steadier especially in unfamiliar places.

    Best of luck finding what suits you best.


  • Trish9556
    Trish9556 Member Posts: 390


    I have OA in my wrist, hands, ankles and both hips so not the same as you but hope this helps.

    I had purchased a lightweight stick that was pretty from a selling site when my asthma got particularly bad and I needed something for reassurance and to rest on when I got too breathless out walking. I was fairly fit at the time.

    Then my hips went and started giving way on me.

    When I was in hospital for my foraminotomy the physio said I should be using two elbow crutches and gave me two pairs. One for upstairs and one for downstairs. Also told if I was only using one to use it on the opposite site to the worst hip. The physio I saw for my hips agreed with the hospital physio assessment.

    I don't like them and find them uncomfortable on the side of my bad wrist/hand which is the opposite side to my worst hip.

    But I use them because they give me stability.

    On particularly rare good days I only use one. On bad wrist day I use a full wrist support with a metal strip in which is a bit more comfortable

    Do you have a physio that can assess your needs and give you the right equipment?

    Love n hugs

    Trish. xx

  • MarkInSussex
    MarkInSussex Member Posts: 31

    iI was using a wooden walking stick before i went into hospital last year, where they then gave me a zimmer frame which i hated, but needs must and i only used for as long as i absolutely had to as i had to learn how to walk again and the frame offered the maximum amount of support whilst i got on my feet again.

    I then progressed to crutches and still use a pair of them each and every day, i've quite gotten used to them now, but they do have an effect on my shoulders as i do tend to lean on the crutches quite heavily and therefore i'm transmitting a force through my shoulders that they were not designed to deal with and i have constant pain in my arm and shoulder joints, RA in my shoulders, hands, elbows doesn't help much either, but i just take things easy, if i need to stop and readjust/relax, then I stop, and learning to stop i think was the hardest part as you just want to get on and try and do things, but being pig headed id try and press on and do too much and end up hurting myself.

    I have an aluminium walking stick from hospital that they sent me home with, but it rarely if ever gets used as i just don't feel safe using it, im sure that will change once i have my operations though and im able to regain some mobility.

  • Sheelee
    Sheelee Member Posts: 152

    Hi SueG5,

    I had the same problem, until I saw a physio who showed me how to use the stick properly. That included having it at the right length.

    Might be worth checking out with someone in the know how you are using the stick. I had mine too long, consequently, when the stick was taking some of my weight, it was digging into.my wrist and shoulder. Once I had the right length of stick, it was fine. All I had to do was learn how to manage the uneven pavement surfaces, particularly variations in the camber. I had my stick in my right hand. If the pavement sloped away to the right, until I leant how to manage it, I'd panic wondering what had happened to the pavement. It was as though it had disappeared!!

    Good luck,

    Sheelee xx

  • Baloo
    Baloo Member Posts: 358

    So far I just let the skill develop. I use a hospital stick on grass as I found it really helped to lean on it while I was trying to find a footing, and this has developed into a way of swinging the stick so I can move along. On pavements I always need to carry something so I tried a wheely rucksack and found it too helps with balance even though I am only dragging it. It came with feet it can stand on, so if I come across some tricky bits I can lean on the T shape handle and find my feet. My worst fear is falling over, which I recon will have to happen one day, but not today.