How to Use Crutches
Let’s face it, crutches suck, but if you are like millions of people every year who find themselves diagnosed with a lower leg injury, you may find yourself required to be non-weight bearing, and crutches may just be one of the mobility options suggested.
Maybe you had the misfortune of tearing your Achilles tendon while playing basketball, undergoing surgery for Plantar Fasciitis, or simply spraining your ankle when stepping off a curb. Any of these common injuries can be non-weight bearing, and can lead to having to learn how to use the most hated device you will ever use – underarm crutches.
Let us help you with the following pointers on how to walk with crutches, and afterwards, we will offer you another crutch option that you may not have been aware of.
When learning how to use crutches, it is important to remember that they require balance, dexterity, upper body strength, and the use of both hands. It will undoubtedly take practice to master and we highly recommend you practice in a large, open area with even ground, as obstacles such as uneven terrain, or having to navigate in small spaces, will greatly impede your progress. Once you have it down, and are walking with crutches, you will still be severely limited in your ability to perform daily activities, but you will never forget how to use them.
Step 1 – Adjust Height
a. Shoe Selection – First make sure that your crutches are adjusted properly for your height. It is best to decide on one pair of shoes that you will be able to wear during most of your recovery and make the height adjustment to your crutches while wearing them. Wearing differently soled shoes during this time means that you will need to readjust the crutches accordingly.
b. Height – Adjust the height of the crutch so that the top of the crutch is positioned under your arm, but approximately 1.5 – 2 inches below your armpit. Avoid jamming the crutches into your armpits; besides being painful, this is not how crutches were designed to be used. For optimal performance, your weight should be concentrated on your hands and the handgrips. Also, avoid letting your shoulders carry any of the weight, this can lead to shoulder pain.
c. Grip Height – After you get the height correctly adjusted, stand naturally and adjust the handgrips to allow for a 15-degree bend in the elbow.
Step 2 – Using Your Crutches
d. While standing on your uninjured foot and holding your injured foot off of the ground, place both crutch tips on the ground in front of you, slightly more than hip width apart, and approximately 12 inches in front of your good foot. (The longer your legs, the longer your stride).
e. Gripping the hand grips, swing your body forward, leaning on your crutches for support.
f. Let your entire weight be supported by the crutches as you lift your uninjured foot and place it one single step in front of the resting crutch tips. The distance should be short enough that you feel stable, about 12 inches. Remember to keep your injured foot off the ground at all times.
g. Repeat the process.
For optimal performance, your weight should be concentrated on your hands and the handgrips. Also, avoid letting your shoulders carry any of the weight, this can lead to shoulder pain.
What? That doesn’t sound easy? Just wait until you encounter stairs, or you have to navigate around furniture, people, or pets. Doing the smallest day-to-day activities will become insurmountable tasks. Did you know it is virtually impossible to carry a glass of water or a cup of coffee while walking with crutches? The difficulty of returning to a regular life on crutches is the leading reason for ‘cheating’, or putting weight on your injury. When people ‘cheat’ on their doctor’s orders to be non-weight bearing, they increase risk of re-injury and extending recovery times.
A Better Crutch Alternative
What if instead of using painful, cumbersome, traditional crutches for a lower leg injury, you were presented with an iWALK2.0 pain-free and hands-free crutch? With the iWALK2.0, you kneel on a padded platform, keeping your injured leg safely elevated, and by tightening the straps; it becomes a temporary prosthetic lower leg.
The iWALK2.0 actually feels like an extension of your own leg and functions like your own leg would. With this stable temporary lower leg in place, and with your hands free, you can return to the unencumbered life you love. With the iWALK2.0 you will regain your mobility, as well as your ability to take care of yourself and your loved ones, all while your injury heals!
The iWALK2.0 gives you the freedom to walk up and down stairs, up and down slopes, over uneven terrain, and in small spaces. You can even use the iWALK2.0 in the shower. In addition to the video above, the iWALK2.0 has easy to follow, online instructional videos to help you every step of the way. It is fast and easy to assemble, custom fit, and use. Ditch the crutches! Choose the best crutch for lower leg injuries; the iWALK2.0!