Examining Stigma and User Comfort Through the Reimagination of Crutch Design

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  • Crutches are intended to support, restore independence, and aid social inclusion of individuals. However, crutch use may lead to undesirable mental and/or physical impacts. The dominant medical, functionalist aesthetic of crutches typically does not align with individual's self-identities, which may lead to reluctance of use, device abandonment, and/or negative social impacts that limit a person's societal participation. This study identifies postural risks associated with crutch use; presents the experiences and perceptions from current, past, and non-users; documents crutch concepts developed with SMEs; and evaluates people's perceptions of the concepts. These methods served to explore the concepts' anthropometric potential and whether they could move crutches toward personal aesthetic and social preferences, and the realm of fashion and wearables. The findings suggest that there is comfort in device familiarity and that new design developments should evaluate the whole-body impact of use to deliver devices that support all needs of users.

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  • Copyright © 2022 the author(s). Theses may be used for non-commercial research, educational, or related academic purposes only. Such uses include personal study, research, scholarship, and teaching. Theses may only be shared by linking to Carleton University Institutional Repository and no part may be used without proper attribution to the author. No part may be used for commercial purposes directly or indirectly via a for-profit platform; no adaptation or derivative works are permitted without consent from the copyright owner.
Date Created
  • 2022


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