I have never seen anyone with hands so small they couldn't play front F# without a crutch at all... If you lobbed my pinky off at the second knuckle I could still get there with no crutch. The rest of my fingers would be crammed though. My right pinky doesn't extend all the way due to a childhood injury and I have no issues on my bassoon reaching the front F# with a rather large crutch. I don't have particularly big hands to begin with.
I'd be very curious about your hand position.
I'm aware of many top notch players using the C# guard as a finger rest on the right hand. I'm quite against the practice though. I switched to using a crutch a few years ago and it freed up my index finger technique, now that half of the finger isn't occupied with controlling the rotation of the instrument. To each his own, I suppose.
I think a big problem is that the plastic crutches provided by Fox for their student instruments are made incorrectly, and as a result many hundreds or thousands of players shun the crutch their entire careers.
M.M.A., D.M.A. University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign: B.Mus. Lawrence University
Bassoon professor at University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire
Maker of the Little-Jake electric bassoon pickup and Weasel bassoon reeds