A walking aid like crutches are helpful when you sustain an injury or require additional support. If you’ve never used crutches, using them improperly can be painful on the arms and the body’s natural posture. With a few helpful tips and practice, using crutches gets much easier. Here are several tips you can use to confidently walk, sit, and climb stairs, with crutches.

Create a Crutch-Friendly Environment

Before using your crutches, enlist a friend or family member to help you clear away unnecessary clutter in your home. Make sure that there are clear pathways to walk through each room in your home and no wires extending out that could be hazardous. Lay out non-slip surfaces in your bathroom, rearrange furniture to optimize space, and make sure everything you need in the kitchen is within reach.

How to Position Yourself Properly with Crutches

The key to using crutches without pain, is positioning yourself properly. You can apply weight to your underarm area and alleviate pressure from the affected leg without unnecessary strain. To properly position yourself with crutches apply the following:

  • When standing up straight, the top of your crutches should be about 1-2 inches below your armpits.
  • The handgrips of the crutches should be even with the top of your hip line.
  • Your elbows should be slightly bent when you hold the hand grips.
  • To avoid damage to the nerves and blood vessels in your armpit, your weight should rest on your hands, not on the underarm supports.

How to Walk with Crutches

Walking with crutches becomes increasingly easy with practice. Make sure you always look forward, toward your destination, and not down at your feet. Use the steps below to take the steps you need with the assistance of crutches.

  • Stand with the proper position outlined above.
  • Lean forward slightly and put the crutches 1 ft ahead of you.
  • Shift the elevated/injured foot forward but rather than stepping onto it, transfer your weight to the crutches.
  • Swing your body forward between the crutches.
  • Step forward with your working leg.
  • Repeat the first step and move the crutches forward.

How to Sit with Crutches

An injured leg or foot can make it more difficult to sit and stand. Try to sit in elevated chairs so you have less distance to sit and stand up. Use the following steps to safely sit with an injured leg:

  • Always keep the injured foot elevated and in front of the working foot.
  • Hold the crutches in one hand and feel the seat behind you with the other.
  • Lower yourself into the chair and sit.
  • Place the crutches nearby upside down, to ensure they don’t topple over.

If sitting is challenging due to a bad knee, make sure someone is with you to assist so you don’t fall. When standing up apply the following steps to make your transition easier:

  • Inch yourself to the edge of the chair.
  • Pick up your crutches and hold them on the side of the injured leg/foot.
  • Use the crutches to help you push yourself up on your good leg/foot.

How to Climb Stairs with Crutches

If you don’t feel comfortable climbing the stairs with crutches or an injury, be sure to have someone to support you or an alternative like an elevator. If you are confident engage in the following steps:

  • Face the stairway and hold the handrail with one hand, tuck the crutches under the other armpit.
  • Lead with your good leg/foot and keep the injured leg/foot behind you when going up.
  • Lead with your injured leg/foot and hop with your good foot when going down.
  • Take one step at a time.

Shop Our Selection of Crutches

If you have yet to purchase crutches, Healthcare solutions has a wide variety of crutches with added features like underarm pads, padded grips, and slip-resistant bottoms. Shop the selection below.

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