When you have a chronic illness *or five*, it can be a struggle figuring out how to go through life while making considerations and adaptations with/for your chronically disabled self. In my case, I gave up on doctors and elected to figure it out by myself vs getting constantly ridiculed by a room full of medical "professionals" who had no idea what I was going through, didn't seem to care, and only wanted to offer me surgeries or medications for other ailments.
With my joint hyper-mobility, it was *and continues to be* a struggle when it comes to getting around without hurting myself. Even the doctor who finally gave into my diagnosis didn't understand why I would want walking aides *and weren't they a bit extreme...?*, but for me forearm crutches are everything. They've given me my life back. Think of my condition in this way: remember that wooden toy shaped like a man where, when you pressed the bottom, all of his "joints" let go, and he collapsed? Release the pressure point and he popped right back up into place! That toy? It me.
With very little effort, my major joints can fall out of place with movements like getting up off the couch, walking, bending, or even shifting around in bed. With mobility aids like forearm crutches, I'm able to keep dislocating pressure off of my joints *mainly my hips, knees, and ankles* when I walk, thus causing fewer dislocations.
Before I dive into what my mobility-aid-journey entailed, and how I got to where I am now, I want to take a moment to shed light on how hard it was to even admit that I needed a mobility aid at my age. I felt a tremendous amount of embarrassment and shame around the idea, and it didn't help that doctors & people around me didn't believe they were necessary. At the same time, I didn't want to lose another ounce of my independence to these illnesses, so I was in deep internal conflict about the whole thing. But ultimately, I was hurting myself more than necessary, and that's when I knew I needed to get the help of a mobility aid - despite what other people thought.
At first, my mobility aid journey started with a cane. I found an ergonomic handled, foldable cane option online and used it constantly once it arrived. I had dislocated my right hip and was desperate for some relief from that pain. *and to walk without such an extreme pimp-limp* Cane life was good until I dislocated my left hip and was experiencing pain in my left shoulder from supporting my whole frame by itself.
I saw things going downhill quick, so I did more research and decided to get a set of forearm crutches. It was either that or a walker, and I just couldn't do that yet - I wanted to retain as much mobility as possible for as long as possible. I found the best pair of forearm crutches available on Amazon and in three days had my very own mobility aids. And they were good! Until they weren't.
Being hypermobile, my upper body started shifting & forming around my constantly shrugged shoulders and with each arm-rowing step I took, I was popping four ribs & my right shoulder out of place. I have a high pain threshold, but the ribs? That shit got to me. It was so painful, I ended up using only my left side forearm crutch because I'd rather dislocate a hip than four ribs over and over.
My body was going downhill faster than the last time. I needed a different mobility option, but what was next?! A wheelchair? No way I could make that work living on my own on the 3rd floor of an apartment building with no elevator. *just to mention a couple of the issues with that scenario*
I didn't know what to do next, but the universe sent an answer! A few months back I met Glenn (aka Amputees Outdoors) while hiking up Twin Falls. Just as my body was reaching its breaking point, Glenn contacted me and shared Mobility Designed's crutches even introducing me to a company contact personally! Willing to try anything *and relieved that my body might not break down on me completely with the help of these crutches* I committed to trying them out.
I felt a lot of anxiety hard when my MD Forearm Crutches arrived. My first forearm crutches were not easy to put together and were extremely frustrating to figure out. Having been through it before, I prepared myself for what could be a difficult experience.
I sat on my floor pouf and listened to music while calmly opening the box and putting together my new Mobility Designed forearm crutches - careful to not assign judgment or emotion to them yet, just in case they ended up not being my answer. But the process was easy and painless enough * beside the time I accidentally whacked my ankle with the steel pole part* and in no time *22 minutes* I had my mobility aids built! I was warned there'd be a learning curve, and strapping them on for the first time I totally understood what they were talking about. I was balancing on an oval base instead of a quad base and my posture was that of...a normal human being.
It feels very much like using walking sticks with how the handles are, but my body remains completely supported through my forearms - though in an entirely different way than with my other crutches! FFC *first forearm crutches* had my shoulders constantly shrugging and hunched up and over the tops. I became strong enough to carry myself by my forearms and hands, but I was hurting myself when I walked. SFC *second forearm crutches* put all the weight in my lower biceps and upper forearms while allowing for full hand mobility. I can't believe how much better they feel!
I've had my new Mobility Designed forearm crutches for 2 weeks now and I can absolutely say that these are so much better for me and my body. I have no discomfort *other than my body adjusting to standing like a normal human being again* and I'm still able to take the dangerous/dislocating weight off of my joints. The best part is, *besides not hurting myself* I've gained back arms & hand mobility I didn't realize I had lost with FFC. I'm also a little faster on these sticks! I'll be taking them on a hike here soon to test the bases against the all-tertain bases I'm used to. Stay tuned for a video of that one!
Thank you so much, Mobility Designed, for creating a less medieval option for crutches! These are seriously a bomb ass product and if you're hypermobile and looking for a mobility solution, I found it & tried it out for you. These really work and I'll sing their praises until I run out of breath. If you're living every day in mobility aids, these are 100% the best option out there right now for forearm crutches and I encourage you to try them out! You won't lose mobility or freedom because these products give mobility and freedom.
Check out my quick, mid-redwoods-hike review of these crutches on my youtube channel here!