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How To Use Crutches

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Updated November 29, 2008

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Crutches are used for treatment of broken bones, sprains, and injuries to the leg.

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Crutches are often used for the treatment of injured legs. Using crutches requires good upperbody strength and flexibility. Using crutches also requires the injury to be isolated to a single leg; patients with an injured arm or two injured legs will usually require another type of support. Read these tips to properly use your crutches.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: 10 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Size the Crutches:
    The crutches should be properly sized so they are used appropriately and do not cause problems. Crutches should:
    • Be about one to two inches below the armpit when you are standing straight;
    • Have handles at hip height, so that your elbows are slightly bent when grasping.
    Crutches that are not sized appropriately cannot be used properly, and may cause problems.

  2. Check the Padding and Grips:
    Check the crutches to ensure they have ample cushion on the armpit, grips, and especially on the base that contacts the floor. These parts of crutches can be replaced by a medical supply store if they become worn.

  3. Getting Up From A Chair:
    Place both crutches in the hand on the affected side (i.e., if you injured your right leg, grasp both crutches by the handle with your right hand). Grasp the handrest of your chair with one hand, and the crutch handles in your other hand. Place your weight on your uninjured leg and push up with your arms.

  4. Walking:
    Move both crutches together a short distance in front of you (about 18 inches). While supporting yourself with your hands, allow your body to swing forward as if you were going to step on the injured leg, but instead of placing weight on the injured leg, rest your weight on the crutch handles. Do not allow the crutch top to touch your armpit - keep your body supported with your hands.

  5. Going Up Stairs (option 1):
    Stand close to the step, and place the crutches on ground level. With your weight on the crutches, pick the uninjured foot up to the step. Then bring the crutches up to the step level. Repeat this for each step.

  6. Going Up Stairs (option 2):
    An alternative, if there is a handrail, is to hold both crutches in one hand and hold the handrail with the other. Again, lead with the uninjured leg.

Tips:

  1. Take short steps.
  2. Don't let your armpits rest on the crutches, even when resting.
  3. When going up and down stairs, go one step at a time, and rest at each step.
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  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Orthopedics
  4. Broken Bones
  5. Treatment of Fractures
  6. How To Use Crutches - Proper Use of Crutches

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