While walking with crutches, users experience high peak loads in their wrists and palms that can approach 50% of body weight, and the wrists can experience extreme hyperextension [1]. The repetitive, high loads and poor wrist postures associated with crutch use have been shown to lead to joint pain and injury, carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, or joint deformity [2]. To address these issues, we propose a lightweight, pneumatically powered sleeve orthosis that fits around the forearm to improve wrist posture and reduce loads in the wrist and palm while using Lofstrand, or forearm, crutches.

This paper describes preliminary work on three tasks to develop modified Lofstrand crutches that support a pneumatic sleeve orthosis. The sleeve is pressurized prior to beginning a walk and depressurized when the crutches are removed, such as when seated for extended periods. We exploit the energetics of...

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