Best Way To Use Crutches (In Any Situation)

When mobility issues happen from foot, ankle, or leg surgery or injury it may become difficult to walk without a mobility aid until your injuries heal.  In fact, it could take weeks for you to be able to walk on your own again.  Because of this, you may be thinking about using crutches.  But what are the best way to use crutches when you are injured?

Crutches are one of the most popular short-term mobility devices because they are not that expensive and they are lightweight and easy to travel with.

Walking with any type of mobility aid may take some getting used to but don’t worry we will explain the way to use crutches to get you moving again.  

Top ways to use crutches in any situation

  • Flat surfaces:  Walking on flat surfaces are the easiest way to use crutches.  
  • Non-weight:  This is when you do not put any weight on the injured leg and is sometimes necessary with certain injuries.
  • Weighted:  This is when you can put some weight on the injured leg while walking with crutches. 
  • Using them on stairs:  Learn how to walk with crutches on stairs with and without rails. 

Flat Surfaces

Flat surfaces are the easiest places to start and walk on crutches.  This is because you can place down the tips of the crutch on an even surface and it will be easier because it’s not un-even increasing the chances of falling.  

1. Without Putting Weight On The Injured Leg

This means you can not put weight on the injured foot, knee, or leg when walking with crutches.

How to Use Crutches No Weight:

  1. Take both crutches and place them under each of your arms.
  2. You will now want to take your injured leg and bend it slightly so it’s off the floor.
  3. Now, move the crutch about 12 inches in front of you.
  4. Next, slightly move your injured leg forward.
  5. Now, support your weight with your hands as you take a step forward with your hurt leg.  Now place your hurt leg on the floor and move the crutch forward to take another step.

2. Putting Weight On The Injured leg While Using Crutches

This means you can put some weight on the injured foot, knee, or leg when walking with crutches.

How to Use Crutches Weight Bearing:

  1. Take both crutches and place one under each of your arms.
  2. Both of your feet should be on the floor with the crutches under your armpits
  3. Now, move both the crutch about 12 inches in front of you.  Now move your injured leg and gently place that foot on the floor.
  4. Now, step as normal as you can forward with the hurt leg, move the crutches forward, and take the next step.

Using Crutches On Stairs

If you need to use crutches for a significant length of time you might find yourself having to navigate stairs.  If you live in a two-story house or building you will want to learn the proper technique to safely move about on stairs with crutches.  See the below steps to do this.

It can be difficult to navigate stairs with crutches, especially for older adults and seniors. You need to have good strength and balance. If you can have someone assist you that would be best or try and use the elevator when you need to get to higher floors.

1. Stairs With No Rail

How to Use Crutches On Stairs With No Rail:

  1. Take both crutches and place one under each of your arms.
  2. With the hurt leg step on the first step and then lift the crutches and your hurt leg to the same step.
  3. Repeat this process very slowly.

2. Stairs With Rail

How to Use Crutches On Stairs With Rail:

  1. Take both crutches and place one under each of your arms.  Now hold the handrail with one hand.
  2. Put weight on your hurt leg and then lift your hurt leg off the floor.
  3. While you hold the handrail take a slow step up with your hurt leg.
  4. Now, lift both your crutches and your hurt foot up to the step.  Keep your hurt food off of the step, but place the crutch on the step.
  5. Now, take the next step with your hurt leg and slowly repeat the process.

2. Process To Head Down Stairs While Using Crutches

How to Use Crutches Down The Stairs:

  1. Take both crutches and place one under each of your arms.  Now hold the handrail with one hand.
  2. Slowly lower your crutch to the below step.  Then slowly step down with your good leg, then followed by your hurt leg.
  3. Repeat this very slowly down the staircase.

Tips To Help With Using Crutches The Best Way

Best Way To Use Crutches

There are things you should do when using crutches that will help you walk easier and more comfortably.  They will also make you safer while using these types of mobility devices.  Below are some tips you should use while on crutches for a better experience. 

  • Hands should take most of the weight: Remember, your hands should bear the weight of your body, not your armpits.  This will help with the most common pain point while using crutches. 
  • Crutches should fit your height properly:  Crutches should sit about 2 inches and no lower than 1/12 inches below your armpits.  Your elbow should have a slight bend when you crab the handgrips. 
  • Avoid tripping by wearing proper footwear:  Always wear proper footwear and try and stay clear of sandals and flip-flops as they can cause you to trip. 
  • Start slowly at first:  When you first start to use crutches start off slow until you get more comfortable using them.  As you get more comfortable you can move quicker on them.
  • Keep your hands free of stuff while using crutches:  Because you need to use your hands to grab the crutch pads to secure yourself while walking it is best for balance and for your security to not have anything in your hands while using crutches. 

How Do I Stop My Armpits From Hurting With Crutches?  This is a common complaint with people who use crutches for the first time.  The best way to stop armpit pain while using crutches is to allow your hands to take most of the weight.  Keep your elbows bent slights and keep your arm straight from your elbow to the wrist. 

How to use crutches without getting tired?  If you are older and not in great shape you could feel tired after using crutches for a significant amount of time without any rest.  This is normal.  As you get more used to using crutches and follow proper techniques while walking you will feel it get easier.

Side effects of using crutches are?  Joint or muscle pain may occur as a side effect of using crutches because you may be using muscle groups that you have not used in a while.  It is not uncommon to have elbow, shoulder, or back pain from using crutches if you have never used them before. 

How much do crutches cost?  Crutches are the most cost-friendly mobility device in most cases.  Crutches can cost anywhere from $30.00 to upwards of a few hundred.

Check padding and grips for safety

To stay comfortable and to gain a better grip make sure you have the proper amount of armpit cushion and grip. This will ensure that you can use the crutches more comfortably and for longer if you do. Not to mention proper grips can allow for a safer time when using the crutches.

Bottom line

There are ways that you should use crutches that will help with mobility issues after an injury or surgery.  Even though crutches may seem awkward at first when you use the best practice techniques you will quickly find they become easier to use.

This will allow you to quickly gain your independence to gain and start moving without the help of others. 

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About ASmith

Adam Smith is the main researcher and contributor at Mobility Medical Supply. Adam has many years of research in public data, and software security. With Mobility issues within Adam's family, he decided to dedicate in-depth guides on mobility products to anyone looking to improve movement and gain independence.