Having been born disabled, a product of the birth defect Spina Bifida Myelomeningocele I can not remember a time where the use of crutches for walking was not required. Perhaps around the house where I could balance myself on walls or other objects for stabilization, but for all intents and purposes I have spent the better part of my 31 years using various mobility devices.
For me, I’ve always been more comfortable using forearm crutches, as opposed to the ones that lay under your armpit. I’ve always found them to be the most sturdy in keeping my balance as I swing through to “walk”.
As anyone with crutches could tell you, any extended use will take it’s toll on the body. Bearing your body weight (of any size) on a daily basis with crutches will undoubtedly put stress on either your shoulders, wrists, underarms, etc. A person is likely to develop calluses on their palms while gripping the crutch handles. I’ve often said that “gimpin’ aint easy” and after a while it can certainly become painful. I had begun to resign myself to the idea that my crutch use would further increase the pain I’ve often felt in my shoulders.
Imagine my surprise and subsequent excitement when I was introduced to a video created by Mobility Designed that I felt completely revolutionized crutches. As their website states, “The M+D Crutch is designed around a simple premise: Elbows, not armpits”. Now, with their revolutionary model, a person can distribute their weight evenly on the crutches from their elbow. This, combined with a shock absorbing tip, make walking with crutches an overall less painful experience while lessening the wear and tear on the muscles and joints used with traditional crutches.
When I learned that Mobility Designed would be one of the companies represented at this year’s Abilities Expo in NJ/NY, I knew I had to attend and experience these new crutches for myself. Upon my arrival, I met Ms. Olson and Ms. Younger who were there to provide a demonstration on how to properly use the crutches to achieve its full benefits. I may have only been able to walk around the expo for a few minutes with these crutches, but I could tell immediately the positive impact it was going to have on myself and others who require mobility devices such as crutches to get from place to place. Being able to experience first hand the way these crutches absorb the shock of repetitively meeting the surface, I had an increased sense of self confidence knowing that these crutches were designed to alleviate many of the issues crutch users such as myself face on a daily basis. There’s often a negative stigma placed on people with disabilities, but with the M+D Crutches I feel as though users (myself included) will be able to walk taller with a product whose sole design is to make mobility easier for those who need it most.