There are 3 main types of crutches that you need to know about before buying a pair of crutches: underarm, forearm (also known as lofstrand), and Better Walk.
Underarm crutches are the traditional crutches you are used to seeing in the United States. They are usually made of aluminum or wood, although many of the modern versions of this product are made of aluminum.
The benefit of the underarm crutch is that it helps a temporary or new user with stability while they are getting used to the crutch. This also helps if you don't have as much upper body strength.
The downside of the underarm crutch is underarm pain, wrist pain, and blisters. Because of the way this product works, you are constantly carrying your weight on your hands, and it can cause blisters and pain, even for the most fit and in-shape users. When you rest, you have to rest on your armpits and you will feel tremendous pain from the crutch pushing against your nerve.
Because of these issues, many customers are constantly looking for crutch alternatives.
The forearm crutch (also known as lofstrand) is typically made of aluminum, and is commonly used in Europe, Canada, or by long term users in the United States.
The benefit of the forearm crutch is that it doesn't cause any pain in your underarms. It's also much smaller and easier to store.
The downside of the forearm crutch is the crutch doesn't contact your body at all, so there is a lack of stability. Your weight is also entirely carried on your hands, so there is still the possibility of blisters and wrist pain. This is not an ideal product for temporary users, unless you are very sure of your strength.
The Better Walk crutch is a new hybrid crutch. It is technically a forearm crutch, but it uses your weight differently. It is made of aluminum and plastic and is currently only sold in the United States.
The benefit of the Better Walk crutch is it allows you to distribute your weight more evenly. Your weight rests along your forearm, and the handle is designed ergonomically to reduce wrist pressure.
The Better Walk crutch has a patented side piece that contacts your body to stabilize you, but it doesn't push into your underarms while you rest. The end result is that these crutches don't cause you underarm pain, but they provide stability like an underarm crutch.
As you decide which type of crutch you want to use, make sure to take into account all of the differences between the crutches, and make a selection based on what will work best for you.