Background and Purpose. An innovative new style of crutches has recently been developed and made available to the general public. These new assistive devices are called "Keen Krutches," and include numerous added features over standard axillary crutches. The Keen Mobility Company (Portland, OR) that produces Keen Krutches claims their product is superior to traditional crutches. The purpose of this study was to compare energy expenditure via heart rate measurements while ambulating with Keen vs. axillary crutches. Methods. Fifty young, healthy, subjects were recruited from the Pacific University student body to ambulate 160 meters with each type of crutch. Resting and exercise heart rates were monitored and recorded. Results. The average heart rate during ambulation with either type of crutch was not significantly different. However, average heart rate increases from rest to ambulation were significantly greater with the Keen Krutches as compared to the axillary style, correlating to increased energy expenditure. Additionally, subjects ambulated at statistically significantly slower rates while using Keen vs. axillary devices. Conclusion and Discussion. Due to a variety of reasons, ambulating with Keen Krutches appears to be more metabolically taxing than using the standard axillary design. At this time, it appears that Keen Krutches are not justified if energy conservation is the primary goal of crutch ambulation.
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