The earliest known use of crutches dates back to the early days of recorded history, so it is impossible to pinpoint a single inventor. However, several innovators are responsible for the modern crutch design.
The first commercially produced crutch was patented in 1917 by Emile Schlick, but his design was more like a walking stick with upper arm support. Later, A.R. Lofstrand, Jr. developed the first height-adjustable crutches. Thomas Fetterman is credited with inventing the first forearm crutches after his experiences with polio in the 1950s. Modern crutches are designed with the help of orthopedic specialists and have padding for shock absorption and terrain grip.