Crutches are a common type of mobility aid that can be used when someone has an injury or surgery that prevents them from putting weight on their foot or leg. Though they may seem daunting at first, crutches are actually quite simple to use with a little bit of practice.
Here are a few tips on how to use crutches correctly and stay safe while doing so.
Adjusting the Crutches
Before you start using your crutches, it’s important to adjust them to fit your height. The handgrips should be level with the crease in your armpits, and the top of the crutch should come up to about 4 inches below your armpit. To adjust the hand grips, loosen the bolts at the top of the crutch and slide the handgrips up or down to the desired position.
To adjust the height of the crutch, loosen the bolt at the bottom of the crutch and extend or retract the metal shaft until it is at the correct height. Once you have adjusted both hand grips and the height of the crutch, tighten all bolts before proceeding.
Walking With Crutches
Now that your crutches are properly adjusted, you’re ready to start moving around! When walking with crutches, always keep weight off of your injured leg by keeping it elevated when possible. When taking a step forward, place your crutches about one foot in front of you and then move your injured leg forward until it is even with your other leg.
Rest your weight on your arms as you move both legs forward together. Be sure to take small steps and keep your body upright—avoid leaning too far forward or backward, as this can cause you to lose balance and fall.
If you need to turn around while using crutches, simply pivot on your good foot while keeping both crutches stationary—don’t try to pick up both crutches at once and turn around like this, as you will likely lose balance and fall.
With a little bit of practice, anyone can learn how to use crutches correctly. However, crutches should not be used if you struggle with balance issues or weigh over 300lbs.
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