What is the difference between closed cuff and open cuff forearm crutches?

Forearm crutches are primarily split into 2 categories, closed cuff and open cuff.

Closed Cuff forearm crutches are sometimes referred to as “Canadian crutches”. These types of forearm crutches feature a cuff that wraps around the upper forearm but provide a small opening that you can slide your arm in and out of with relative ease. The cuff is usually made of a flexible material that in some cases can be molded to your forearm diameter. Some brands also feature a hinged cuff (pivot on the back of the cuff) that allows for more freedom of the hands when the user is stationary. They are also quite popular among long term crutch users and are what the majority of inexperienced crutch users think of when they hear ”forearm crutches”.

Open Cuff forearm crutches are a modern version and are usually referred to as “European” or “Euro” crutches. The reason for the European name reference is because this style of crutch is the standard throughout Europe just as underarm crutches are more commonly issued to patients in the US and Canada. These types of forearm crutches feature an open cuff that is commonly made of molded plastic. The base of the cuff typically offers more surface area for the forearm and the depth of the cuff can range from brand to brand. This type of forearm crutch is newer to the US/Canadian market but is quickly becoming popular among younger, active and fashion conscious population. This is due in part to their modern, lightweight and minimalist design. They are less bulky and aesthetically pleasing while providing the same mobility benefits of as a closed cuff crutch. Business professionals also enjoy this type of forearm crutch as they do not cause business attire to bind or wrinkle around the forearms (caused by closed cuff forearm crutches) or armpits (caused by standard underarm crutches).

Features and Benefits of Closed Cuff and Open Cuff Forearm Crutches:
Comfort, ease of use, prevention of nerve damage, improved agility, improved speed, easier/safer to ascend/descend stairs, improved posture, improves and allows for a variety of walking styles (gaits), improved stability over rough or uneven surfaces.

Feature(s) and Benefit(s) of Closed Cuff Forearm Crutches:
Crutch will stay connected to the arm allowing more freedom of the hands.

Features and Befits of Open Cuff Forearm Crutches:
Modern, fashionable designs, less bulky, typically lighter, nothing to impede the arms in the case of a fall or loss of balance, does not cause binding/wrinkling of long sleeve/business attire and are more compact for travel.

There are certainly other differences between forearm crutch styles but we hope this article provides some clarity on the topic. If you want to experience the comfort and benefits of FDI forearm crutches please visit us here.