Review of the Ergobaum crutch by James Walsh
Late in 2013 I got a phone call from Christine Bradshaw of Spinal Injuries Ireland to say that she had attended the Rehacare Exhibition in Dusseldorf and had seen a new style of crutch that she thought I might be interested in trying.
Christine was aware that I had mobility problems for nearly a year and that the ‘normal’ crutches weren’t giving me the support I needed which was severely affecting my walking confidence. Indeed I had attended the Open Day in the NRH and had listened to Derry Durand, who also uses crutches, talking about his occasional use of a wheelchair. I spoke to Derry afterwards and had seriously thought about getting a wheelchair. That is, until the Ergobaum crutches came along and the wheelchair was put on the back burner.
Christine set up a meeting with Perlamar Ltd. and they gave me a set of crutches to try out. Since then I’ve had an interesting time getting out and about and showing off my new crutches.
My first adventure was a walk in my local park with my wife Ann and our two dogs, something I haven’t been able to do for at least five years.
Shortly after that I went back to see my physiotherapist with both sets of crutches, old and new. I walked up and down the corridor using first the old and then the Ergobaum crutches. She definitely thought that the Ergobaum crutches improved my posture and greatly improved my walking confidence.
One of my passions is horse racing and I used to love going to the Leopardstown Christmas meeting but hadn’t been for years as I didn’t feel confident enough in my walking. On Stephen’s Day I went to the races at Leopardstown on my own (my wife doesn’t like horse racing). Again it was the crutches that did it for me and I thoroughly enjoyed the day although I lost a few Euro but then, you can’t have everything.
My wife and I celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary on the 1st January and we stayed in the Royal Marine Hotel for the night. The following morning we decided to take advantage of a rare sunny day and walked half way down the East Pier in Dun Laoghaire and back up, again this is something I haven’t done in years.
A few weeks later I actually walked the full length of the pier, had an ice cream in Teddy’s in the grounds of the lighthouse at the end of the pier, and walked back up. Even when I was able bodied I would have thought twice about walking the pier but this time I saw it as a challenge and the crutches enabled me to do it.
There are a few things that take getting used to such as the weight of the crutches. They are slightly heavier than my old crutches, however, I think the weight actually improves stability. Also the ferrules are quite large which also adds to the stability and lessens the danger of slipping and falling. The ferrules are spring-loaded which reduces jarring to your shoulders.
Whilst out walking recently I realised that I was looking up at the sky. It suddenly dawned on me that I don’t normally do this as I’m usually totally focused on the ground to make sure there are no obstacles that could trip me up. The crutches have completely restored my walking confidence and I love the freedom the crutches have given me and would happily recommend them to anyone, especially long-term crutch users like myself.