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Mobility Monitor

How to use crutches

If you have recently had a surgical procedure or have broken your foot or leg, you may find yourself now having to use crutches to get around.

When you first begin use crutches, everything will seem difficult. But after a while, with a little practice, you will gain confidence and learn to use this walking aid safely and effectively during your recovery period. Here are a few tips to get you on your way.

  • The correct fit: Selecting the proper size is very important. The top of your crutches should reach to 1-1 1/2 inches below your armpits while you stand up straight. The handgrips of the crutches should be even with the top of your hip line. Your elbows should bend a bit when you use the handgrips. Hold the top of the crutches tightly to your sides, and use your hands to absorb the weight. Don`t let the tops of the crutches press into your armpits.
  • Walking tips: When walking, lean forward slightly and put your crutches about one foot ahead of you. Begin your step as if you were going to use the injured foot or leg, but shift your weight to the crutches instead of the injured foot. Your body swings forward between the crutches. Finish the step normally with your noninjured leg. When the non-injured leg is on the ground, move your crutches ahead in preparation for the next step. Keep focused on where you are walking, not on your feet.
  • Sitting down: When attempting to sit down, back up to a sturdy chair. Put your injured foot in front of you and both crutches in one hand. Use the other hand to feel for the seat of your chair. Slowly lower yourself into the chair. Lean your crutches upside down in a handy location.
  • Standing up: To stand back up again, inch yourself to the front of the chair. Hold both crutches in the hand on your good leg side. Push yourself up and stand onto the good leg.
  • Stairs: When attempting stairs you need to be both strong and flexible. Facing the stairway, hold the handrail with one hand and tuck both crutches under your armpit on the other side. When you`re going up, lead with your good foot, keeping the injured foot raised behind you. When you`re going down, hold your injured foot up in front, and hop down each stair on your good foot. Take it one step at a time. You may want help at first. If you`re facing a stairway with no handrails, use the crutches under both arms and hop up or down each step on your good leg, using more strength. An easier way might be to sit on the stairs and inch yourself up and down each step. Start by sitting on the lowest stair with your injured leg out in front. Hold both crutches flat against the stairs in your opposite hand. Scoot your bottom up to the next step, using your free hand and good leg for support. Face the same direction when you go down the stairs this way.