Type of crutch typically used when there is a wrist or hand problem but may also be useful for those with FOP when an arm is fused in a flexed position.


The gutter crutch, also called a platform crutch, is so named because of the “gutter” or “platform” where the forearm rests.  This gutter platform becomes the weight bearing surface and alleviates some or all of the weight that typically happens through the leg when walking and transfers it to the forearm instead. Gutter crutches are often used by individuals with a more permanent disability (compared to the use of axillary crutches under the armpit for people with a more short-term injury or temporary restriction).
Gutter crutches are adjusted so that the forearms gently rest on the horizontal platforms.  The forearms are usually strapped in place with velcro-type straps that allow the gutter platform to release in case of a fall. However, in some cases the use of velcro straps may pose further risk for injuries and falls and might not be recommended. The hands hold angled grips which can also be adjusted in length and side to side positions.


When Ciske lost mobility in her right leg and it fused in a flexed position, she was determined to continue walking independently and worked with a physiotherapist to adapt a pair of gutter crutches to meet her specific FOP needs. She and her therapist adapted the gutter platforms to rest at an angle that matched the angle of her fused arms (her right arm was more horizontal but her left arm still had mobility to reach further down toward her hip). Then, they had the brilliant idea to add the pedal of a wheelchair to her right crutch at just the right height so that the foot of her bent leg could have a solid surface to rest on and share some of the weight bearing responsibilities. This pedal attachment also added a bit more stability to Ciske’s balance when using the crutches.  She wanted to share this clever adaptation with others in hopes that it might help someone else around the world with FOP or other physical disabilities return to a form of independent mobility. Watch the video below to see how Ciske is able to walk with her adapted gutter crutches. Well done Ciske!

Gutter crutches require a certain amount of strength, balance and mobility and may not be appropriate for someone with FOP who has lost significant mobility. Considerations for any mobility device should always be discussed with your doctor first. An Occupational or Physical Therapist can help evaluate your safety, measure you for crutch sizes and adjust the crutches to meet your specific needs once your doctor and therapist have both agreed that you are a safe candidate.

Where to purchase

HiTech Therapy Online - SOUTH AFRICA - Ciske's gutter crutches
Smart Crutch website - U.S. - Smart Crutch