How to Walk with Crutches Properly? A Definitive Guide

Accidents can happen at any time, to anyone, at any place. No one is immune to it if they are not careful.

But, if you have broken or sprained your leg, there is a good chance that you will need crutches to help you move around and will assist you in walking.

Now, if you are someone who has never walked with the help of crutches, then you might find it to be a bit difficult.

And thus, might need some guidance. We are here for that reason, in particular. With a step-by-step guideline, we plan to make your movements easier.

If you want to know more, then keep reading!

How to Position the Crutches

Before you learn how to walk with crutches, you need to learn how to position your crutches. Because wrong placement might end up hurting you more than anything else. You might even fall or trip if you do not hold the sticks properly in position.

  • Step 1: Get Good Crutches

You can buy new crutches from the store or decide to borrow them from someone you know. Borrowing is a great option as you might not make use of this more than once or twice in your life. So, wasting money on that is not really required if you happen to know someone who has them at home.

When acquiring the crutches, you have to do a thorough check-up to make sure it has all the important aspects. You have to make sure the pins are all intact, and you can actually adjust the length of the crutches. That is an important part because you will not be able to make proper use of it if they are too short or too long.

The armrest on them is also a significant part of the crutches. You will be resting a lot of your body weight on that. So, if they do not have an adequate amount of spring or cushioning, then you will start feeling uncomfortable after a while. Also, your arms will be sore.

And the last thing you must check is the bottom of both the sticks. They should have rubber tips attached to them. They are fixed in place, so you do not end up slipping when you use the crutches to walk.

  • Step 2: Adjust the Crutches According to Your Height

As I said before, you must make sure the crutch you have can be adjusted according to your height. To make sure they are the right length, stand straight and take the crutches under your arm. Now, use the pins or bolts to either make it longer or shorter.

It should be long enough for your hand to have a comfortable bend to it. And so they do not have to slouch down to reach the stick.

If you plan to go out with the sticks, then put your shoes on and then adjust the length. This will be beneficial for you as the shoes will add a bit more to your height.

  • Step 3: Correct Placement of Your Crutches

The best way for you to get the most out of the crutches is to keep them with you at all times. The balance in weight will be just right, and you will not have to put in any additional effort to walk around with the crutches.

Also, remember that you are not to put pressure on the armrest with your underarms, rather when you walk, your hands are going to take on your body weight. It might feel like you will not be able to carry your weight around like that, but in reality, this is easier than sore armpits and shoulders.

How to Walk and Sit with Crutches

After you have learned how to position your crutches the right way, it is time for us to graduate and learn how to walk using them. Along with walking, you will also get to know how the crutches will support and assist you to sit.

  • Use the Crutches to Walk

You have to remember that the crutches are there to help you and keep your weight off your injured leg. If you do not remember that, the. The chances of you getting hurt are fairly high.

Now, at first, what you have to do is place both the crutches by your side and make sure you have your uninjured leg firmly on the ground. Then, you will lift both of them off the ground and place the sticks about a foot in front of you. Make sure they are steady on the ground so that there is no chance of slipping and falling.

This is when your arms have to do the hard work. You will put your weight on your arms that are holding on the crutches, and then you will swing your body forward so that you can rest your uninjured foot on the ground. This process has to be repeated again and again till you have reached your destination.

Moreover, you may need some practice before you get the hang of things. So, if you are a bit shaky with your crutches, then it would be wise to walk around with it at home and then take it out on the road.

Also, mind you, you will need some upper body strength to carry yourself around on the crutches. Walking a long distance will not be the best option for you at this point.

  • Use the Crutches to Sit Down

Sitting down with the assistance of the crutches is much easier than walking with them. Your main concern should be to hold your balance and not fall over.

Now, at first, you will have to locate a chair that will support your weight and will not slip away from you. Then you will have your back towards the chair till the seat is hitting the back of your leg. Take both the sticks on your uninjured side and lean on. Put your weight on the stick as your lower yourself down to the seat.

Just as you did to sit down, standing up will be a very similar process. You will take the crutches and grab hold of them, putting as much of your weight on them as possible and stand up. Finding the right footing for the crutches is important here, as well. Otherwise, you might slip and fall.

How to Go Up and Down the Stairs with Crutches

Climbing up or down the stairs has become an easy task for us as we do it so often. But, it won’t be so easy if we had to do it with one leg. Balancing our weight would be difficult. So, we must learn how crutches can help us with our task.

  • Going Up with Crutches

For this task, you will need to put in some effort and some energy because it is no easy task. So first off, you will take the crutches to one side, and with your free hand, you will grab hold of the rail. Lift your injured leg up so that you do not hit it against the steps of the stairs because that will hurt a lot.

Now, once you are sure you have found your balance, just try to lift yourself up by placing your weight on the crutches and the railing. Just like you did with the walking, the sticks will have to stay ahead of you, and you will have to swing your body to move towards the stick.

Doing this on your own is very risky as the likelihood of you falling is very high. So, it would be better if you ask someone to help you out the first few times you are on the stairs with the crutches. Once you get the hang of things, you can try doing it on your own.

If by chance you encounter a flight of stairs without a railing, then it is better to avoid it if possible. In case you cannot, you will need to keep one crutch under each of your armpits and take their support to climb up. Ask for assistance from someone because there is no point in inviting danger.

  • Going Down with Crutches

Moving down the stairs is easier to do; however, the risk of toppling is far greater. You might lose your footing or balance. In either of the cases, you will end up hurting yourself.

At the very beginning, you have to hold on to the railing with one of your hands and transfer both the crutches to the other one. Now extend the sticks to the step below and secure it in place. That is when you will have to hoop down to the step you placed the stick.

This step has to be continued until you reach the very bottom of the stairs. Even though the crutches will be able to help you with your descend, it would be safer for you to sit yourself down on the step and slowly drag yourself down. You will be at less risk of hurting yourself on the way down the stairs.

And with that, you have the basic understanding of using a pair of crutches to help you move around in case you do end up hurting yourself. But, as I said before, practice is key here. If you do not move around with it enough, it will be very hard for you to understand the mechanism the goes behind using crutches.

How to Walk with One Crutch

The probability of you using one crutch is far greater than using both of them. So, you have to know how you would move around with just one of the sticks. Well, it's not as difficult as many might think.

Now, you see, crutches are there so that we can find a balance that would help and support us to walk. If you only have one crutch, then that means you will have to think or assume that the stick is the leg that in normal conditions helps you walk.

So, take the crutch on your injured side and lean on it so that it can play the role of your other leg. And each time you move ahead, extend the stick in place of your leg. That should do the job. Just keep mind to keep the crutch close to your body in case you start to lose footing.

A Few Tips to Help You with the Crutches

You have already read through all the essentials and requirements for walking and using crutches. However, to make this transition easier and more comfortable for you, we have a few tips up our sleeves.

  • Buy the Crutches According to Your Weight

Not everyone weighs the same. Thus, there are various versions made of items for the use of people who belong in different weight groups. The same situation is true for crutches. There are different sizes and capabilities of crutches that are made to accommodate people who weigh more or less than the average.

If you weigh more than average and want to use a regular pair of crutches, then that is not a logical option. The crutches will not be able to support your weight; rather, it will be bent out of shape if you do put too much pressure on them. They might even break, which would lead to further damage.

The same goes for those of you who weigh less than average. You will have to drag around the excess weight with you all day long. That will make your arms tired much faster than normal.

Keeping these things in mind, you should go to the store and select one that will be perfect for your height, weight, and overall size. Even if you do get a hand-me-down, then get it from someone who is of the same built as you are.

  • Lift Your Injured Leg Close to Your Body

This is a very basic tip, one you are likely to do automatically when you get a pair of crutches under your arms. But, for those of you who are not doing lifting your injured leg back or haven’t thought of doing it; this will truly help you out.

So, when you have the sticks in hand and are walking using their help, you are to lift your bad leg so that you do not drag it on the ground. This might make the situation worse for you. Also, by keeping your leg down, you will increase the probability of hitting your foot against something or the other.

If you try to keep a few of these things in your mind, then you are less likely to get hurt in your quest of moving around with a crutch. The steps will also help you to understand what you should do to walk with ease.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to do something is not easy. It takes time, patience, as well as dedication. If you try your best to cross this hurdle, then using the crutches will not be a difficult feat. But if you are unable to stick to something for a long time, then you will find yourself in a tough spot.

  • Updated November 10, 2019
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