Tips for Using Crutches During Foot-Treatment Recovery


If you have undergone a procedure on your foot and have been fitted with braces, callipers or splints by your hospital orthotic-services department, you may also have been given crutches in order to help you to walk until your foot heals. So, how do you use crutches correctly? Here are some top tips to help you get around until you're back on both feet again!

Using the correct position

In order to use your crutches comfortably, you must position them correctly. 

When you're standing upright, the top of the crutches must be a few centimetres below your armpits with the handgrips in an even line with the top of your hips. 

In order to hold the handgrips, your elbows should be slightly bent. Don't rest the underarm supports in your armpits, or else you risk damaging the nerves and blood vessels that supply that area.

Walking with crutches

  1. Lean slightly forward, with your crutches a little out in front of you.  
  2. Keep looking forward at where you're going, not down at your feet or your crutches.  
  3. Lead your step forward with the injured foot, but shift all your weight to the crutches instead.  
  4. Swing your body slowly forward between the crutches.  
  5. Finish the step with your good leg, as you would do when walking normally.  
  6. As your good leg lands, move the crutches forward in readiness for your next step.

Ascending stairs

Negotiating stairs when you have an injured foot and are using crutches can be tricky.  The key to safely getting up and down stairs is to take your time. If you're very unsteady on your feet, try to recruit someone to help you.

  1. Start by facing the stairway. Take a firm hold on the handrail with one hand and tuck both your crutches underneath the armpit on the opposite side.  
  2. Lead with your good foot whilst keeping the injured one elevated behind you. Use the handrails to pull yourself up, keeping your injured foot clear of the steps.

Descending stairs

  1. Always descend facing the stairs so that you don't overbalance.  
  2. Take a firm grip on the handrails and tuck your crutches under your armpit.  
  3. Hold your injured foot up in front of you, using your good foot to hop down each step, one at a time.

If you have to negotiate stairs without handrails, the safest way to do so is to sit on your bottom and use your good leg to push you up each step to ascend. To get downstairs, use your good leg to take your weight as you bump down each step. This may not be elegant, but it is the safest way to handle stairs without handrails.

For more advice and information of using crutches, have a chat with your orthotics consultant or podiatrist.


7 December 2016

How a Podiatrist Can Help With Running Injuries

Hi, my name is Steve and I’m a keen runner. I’ve been running for fun for years. I love the buzz I get from a long run and the fact that my hobby helps keeps me fit. Last year, I started to experience problems with my feet and ankles. It started with just a few twinges and soreness but ended up getting so bad that I couldn’t run to my usual schedule any longer. I couldn’t work out what was going wrong, so a friend recommended I see a podiatrist. I was a bit sceptical at first; however, my podiatrist immediately identified some issues with my running gait and shoes that were causing my problems. I started this blog to pass on some of the advice I got for any other runners who are suddenly suffering from unexplained discomfort. Hope it helps keep you on the road!