Cardiovascular stress of crutch walking

Robert P Patterson, S. V. Fisher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The cardiovascular (CV) stress of crutch walking was studied in 8 normal subjects ambulating with under arm crutches at 30, 40, 50, 60, 70 and 80m.min-1 on the level, at 40 and 60 m.min-1 up a 5% grade, and climbing stairs at the rate of 16 and 24 stairs/min. A progressive exercise stress test was performed on each subject using a hand-cranked bicycle ergometer for the upper extremities and treadmill for the lower extremities. Heart rates (HR) were significantly higher, than in normal walking at equivalent O2 uptake (V̇(O)2)) levels. The HR slope versus V̇(O)2 for each crutching activity was similar to that obtained for the upper extremities stress test. This suggests that crutching acts as an upper extremity activity in terms of CV stress. Using the ventilatory equivalent (VE (V̇(O)2)), the estimated anaerobic threshold point started at 60m.min-1 for level crutching. It was estimated that a subject with a pulse rate limit of 140bpm could either crutch at 60 m.min-1 ( or run at 134 mmin-1 (5

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-260
Number of pages4
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1981


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