Walking With Crutches

Submitted by Kevin Pederson on February 23, 2012

Crutches are walking aids that are usually used to overcome difficulties with walking independently. Many people are seen using crutches after being in an accident, or recovering from a surgery or an injury, and other similar conditions. However, walking with crutches is not always as easy as it looks. It requires a lot of practice, patience and perseverance.


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In case a person is planning to use crutches for the first time, a lot of help and guidance from a physiotherapist may be required. Before a person can start practicing walking with crutches, it is very important to ensure that the crutches fit well and are going to be comfortable to use. The ideal size for the crutches is such, that the top of the crutches are around two inches below the user's armpits.

A hand rest has to be positioned in such a way, that the user's elbows are slightly bent while holding them and the weight is supported on the wrists and hands. It is important to ensure that the weight does not rest on the underarms, so as to avoid serious damage to the nerves.

When a person is ready to stand up and use the crutches, they need to hold the crutches together, using one hand (while seated), then raise themselves up and put one crutch under each arm. Proper balancing is one of the basics of walking with crutches, which includes keeping the body in proper alignment where the head is held high, the stomach is in, the shoulders are pushed back and the buttocks are in. Making sure that the crutches are securely held under the arms, they need to move both the crutches forward and then squeezing the crutches under the arm; they need to hop forward on the strong leg. Hanging on to the crutches while moving ahead can be dangerous. The crutches should never be placed to far from each other or even too close to each other, or else the user could get hurt.

While practicing walking with crutches, it is important to take extra care while turning, using staircases, walking through doorways and getting in and out of chairs. For example, while turning short round steps should be taken, instead of twisting around to avoid a fall. Hence, a lot of practice may be required, before the user can accomplish these activities. A lot of help and support may be needed, not just from a physiotherapist, but also the family, friends and colleagues of the person using crutches.

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