Doctors may suggest the use of an assisted walking device following an injury or surgery while the lower extremity is healing. At the beginning, it may seem difficult to manage the walking aids, however with practice it will quickly become easier and your confidence will grow!

It is important to follow your Doctor’s advice regarding weight-bearing with crutches- unless otherwise told, do not put weight on the injured leg!

When walking with assisted devices, always wear supportive shoes, watch out for slippery or uneven surfaces and clear the way of anything that may cause you to trip.  A physiotherapist is the specialist when it comes to fitting and educating you on the proper assisted device like a cane or crutches.

Please note that the following are simple and practical tips to be used with crutches but it is important to visit a physiotherapist prior to usage in order to ensure proper handling and form.

Position:

  • Crutches:
    • The top of the crutch should be about 1-2 inches below the armpit
    • The hand-grip should reach the crease of the wrist and elbows should be slightly bent.
  • Cane:
    • Place the cane in the hand opposite to the injured side.
    • The top should reach the crease of the wrist and elbows should be slightly bent.

Walking:

  • Crutches/cane should be placed slightly in front of you
  • Move the injured leg forward
  • Put weight through your hands, keeping elbow straight and move the unaffected leg between or ahead of the assistive device

Sitting: (with crutches)

  • Step back towards the chair until the unaffected leg touches it
  • Keep the injured leg forward
  • Keep weight on the good leg, transfer both crutches to side of injured leg
  • Lean forward and bend the unaffected knee holding onto the armrest as your lower yourself into the chair

*To transfer to standing move to the edge of the chair and use the armrest to help push yourself up while weight-bearing on the good leg

Stairs: use the handrail and hold the cane or both crutches as one on the opposite side

  • Going up
    • Good leg up first
    • Lean forward onto the good leg and lift the injured leg up
    • One step at a time!
  • Going down
    • Move your hand down the rail
    • Lower the crutches first
    • Step down with the injured leg
    • Step down with the good leg next
    • One step at a time!

 

References:

How to Use Crutches. (2019) Retrieved November 13, 2019, from https://myhealth.alberta.ca/alberta/pages/use-crutches.aspx

How to Use Crutches, Canes, and Walkers. (2019) Retrieved November 13, 2019, from https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/recovery/how-to-use-crutches-canes-and-walkers/