Using crutches looks intuitive, but it’s really not. To use crutches properly, you need some good instruction, a bit of skill and then practice. If you need to be on crutches for a long period of time, the tips below will help you to use them safely.
- Have your health professional fit your crutches to you and give you instructions on how to use them.
- The top of the crutches need to be 1-2 inches under the armpits when you are standing up.
- Hand grips should be at hip level.
- Elbows should be slightly bent when you grab the hand grips.
- Shoulders should be leaning forward a bit as you use them.
- Keep the top of them tight against the sides of the body, and use the hands to hold most of the weight.
- Do not allow the armpits to rest on the crutches. This will irritate the skin.
- Be on the look out for any loose items on the floor in the home, such as cords, toys, rugs or anything that may trip you.
- Make the house simpler, keep out the items that you regularly need. Put all other items out of the way.
- A backpack is a great idea to keep things right by you that you use regularly, such as a pen, paper and cell phone.
- Take short steps and take a break when you need to.
- Keep the majority of your weight on your hands, not on the armpits.
- Lean forward a bit and move the crutches one foot in front of you.
- Shift the weight to your crutches and swing forward.
- Put your good leg between the crutches and put them in front of you on the ground.
- Shift weight to your good leg and begin the next step by putting crutches about 12 inches in front of you.
- Be sure to look ahead and don’t look at the ground.
- Shift to the front edge of your chain.
- Take both crutches in the hand on the side of your injured leg.
- Hold the chair arm with your free hand.
- Put weight on the good leg, and push up with your arms and stand with your good leg.
To make your crutches more comfortable, try these crutch mobility supplies: