Help I Need Crutches! by Lauren Scherer, LVN
It’s an unfortunate event when you’ve sprained your ankle or possibly may have even broken it. After an X-ray and diagnosis, your doctor may suggest using crutches to aid with walking and standing. If you haven’t used them before, this may seem like a daunting task. Luckily, there are few tips to help you remember how to use them properly.
First, make sure you have the correct size crutches. There are small, medium and large sizes, depending on your height. Even though they are adjustable, someone with a 5 foot frame would need a very different size than someone who is 6 feet tall. Next, knowing the proper placement is important for adequate support. When standing up straight, the top of the crutch should be two to three fingers away from the underarm, or medically termed axilla. This will allow some room so that the arms are slightly bent, while your hold is fixed firmly on the handgrips.
To begin walking, move forward in a swinging motion shifting your weight from your body to your good leg, and step firmly ahead. Make sure not to go too great a distance to refrain from losing your balance. There should be little to no pressure on your underarms, instead use your hands and arms for support. Once you get the hang of it, it’s time to master the stairs.
For going upstairs, you must put your good foot ahead of you first. Follow with the crutches on the step. Make sure to take your time and have someone to assist you in the beginning. When going downstairs, it will be the opposite. You must carefully place your crutches on the step below first, then follow with your weaker leg, and land on your stronger leg lastly. A good way to remember these steps is with the phrase “up with the good, down with the bad.”
Other important tips for walking with crutches include:
- Wear safe and comfortable shoes while using crutches
- Maintain a steady pace, and be careful on uneven surfaces
- Avoid carrying heavy items, and if necessary wear a backpack
- Have someone with you for assistance if necessary
Follow these simple instructions for crutch use and you’ll be on your way to a speedy and efficient recovery!
The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.