Tips for Buying and Using Crutches
Crutches provide support if you're struggling to balance or need to take the weight off of one, or both, of your legs. They can feel more stable and secure than a walking stick, and are a crucial part of having some independence when needed.
Most people use non-weight bearing crutches when they need to keep weight off an injured leg, so they can heal and get back to full mobility. Non-weight bearing crutches can be used for both short and long-term mobility assistance and can help you support your weight when you’re unable to do so on your own.
Whether your situation is temporary or you’re a lifelong user of crutches, we have what you need to ensure comfort, safety, and durability for the duration of your time on crutches.
A Note for First Time Use of Crutches
You may have found yourself in a dodgy situation if you need to suddenly use crutches for a few weeks or months. Or you might have lost or broken the crutches you have and are looking for a replacement.
If you don’t know how to use crutches, it can be a real bother to get used to them. The first thing to do is ask your doctor or a nurse how exactly to use them. They’ll know the best way for you to maneuver around for your specific issues.
Ask which kind of crutches they think would work for you. Whether you only need one crutch, any special bathing or grooming tools, what kind of weight you can bear on your cast or boot, and what kind of crutches should use to attempt to maintain your posture while you’re in recovery. If you’ll be on crutches for the long term, these questions are even more important. Be well informed of your condition so you know which type will be better for you.
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, but they will allow you to continue moving about without further injuring your leg.
Everyday Life on Crutches
There are a few things you should be thinking about in regards to your daily life while you’re in recovery and using crutches.
If you’ll still be out and about on a regular basis, invest in a good backpack! Regular shoulder bags are cumbersome and being on crutches means moving your shoulders around a lot. This makes the strap fall down often and cross body bags just don’t stay in place with the rocking movements of crutches.
Consider the differences you’ll be experiencing if you need to use public transportation or taxi cabs. Plan for extra time if these modes of transportation are required for you to get where you need to be. Use the time to go slow and be sure you’re safe while traveling.
Cross the street in crowds so that other cars see you. Nod and wait for an acknowledgment before crossing in front of busses or trucks.
Eating on the go will be different while you’re on crutches. You’ll likely have to operate them with both hands and you won’t be able to eat a granola bar or a sandwich while you’re making your way home or to your next destination.
Leave extra time to stop and eat or find out if the place you’re going to will accommodate you eating while you’re there.
A Semi-Active Lifestyle is Still Possible
If you’re able to bear weight on your knee during recovery, you may want to ask your doctor about the iWalk 2.0 Crutch.
Instead of using two crutches placed under the arms and bearing weight on arms and shoulders, this design allows the wearer to “walk” with their knee and leg supported behind them and a secure crutch that moves along the ground similar to their foot. You kneel on a padded platform, keeping your injured leg safely elevated behind you. The crutch essentially becomes a temporary prosthetic lower leg.
Using this type of crutch means you don’t have to worry about stairs being a burden and you’ll have support for your injured leg without compromising the use of your hands. This style of crutch makes it easier for a person to stay active while in recovery and still safely keep from bearing weight on their leg and foot.
Using Forearm Crutches
For some people, using crutches is a long term situation and classic crutches that fit under the arms and bear a lot of weight on the shoulders can become very painful. These conditions may therefore require the use of forearm crutches.
When choosing this style of crutches, you’ll want to be sure that both the forearm and leg part are independently adjustable without tools. This gives you maximum comfort without a ton of hassle.
Using forearm crutches comes with a little extra consideration than classic crutches. It may take longer to get places than you imagined it would with classic crutches and getting up and down stairs will be different than with classic crutches.
Remember to always be safe! That might mean that you’re not always comfortable but it’s more important in the long run. Stop, sit, and stretch your arms, back and shoulders several times throughout the day while using this style of crutches. Speak with your doctor about how to maintain proper posture while using them.
Being on crutches doesn’t mean completely forgoing your exercise regimen. Yes, the regimen will be very different, but it’s important to maintain exercise every day. Ask your doctor about physical therapy for your injured limb and what exercises are best for you to do while using crutches.
You also want to be sure to stretch out several times a day as you can. Your shoulders, neck, and back could become very tight and knotted while using crutches daily, especially if you’re not used to them. Keep exercising while on your crutches and, before you know it, your recovery will be over.
It's important to note that not all crutches are created equal. When choosing, consider what type of injury or illness you have and how much mobility you want during your recovery.
Every crutch requires some practice before you can use it. You can usually start using traditional crutches, like forearm and underarm, immediately. However, it’s important that you fit and use them properly otherwise they could cause further problems.
If you need help fitting a crutch and using it, come to our showroom where our staff is happy to help you find the best iece of equipment for your needs.