Health Library Home>Medical Animations>Article

Using Crutches - Discharge Instructions


Transcript

This video will teach you how to use your crutches. Please watch the entire video before using your crutches.

Crutches help you move around without having to put weight on your injured foot or leg.

If you have had an injury to or an operation on your foot or leg, you may need to use crutches.

We’ll be talking about certain parts of crutches in this video.

The top part of the crutch is called a crutch pad. The handle in the middle is called a handgrip.

The rubber bottom that touches the floor is called the crutch tip.

Before you use crutches, you will need to make sure they fit your body correctly.

Step one: Put one crutch under each arm at the sides of your body while you’re standing.

Step two: Relax your shoulders, and let your arms hang down over the crutches. The crutch pads should not touch your armpits.

Step three: Check the amount of space between your armpits and the crutch pads.

There should be 2 inches or 5 centimeters of space between them. This is about two or three finger widths.

This space helps keep the crutch pads from putting pressure on nerves and blood vessels in your armpits.

Pressure on these nerves and blood vessels may cause arm tingling and weakness.

If the crutches are not the right height, you can adjust them.

Check the instructions that came with your crutches or contact your healthcare provider if you’re not sure how to do this.

Step four: Check the height of the crutch handgrips.

Your wrists should be at the same level as the handgrips.

If the handgrips are not the right height, you can adjust them.

Check the instructions that came with your crutches or contact your healthcare provider if you’re not sure how to do this.

Next, you’ll learn how to stand with crutches.

Step one: While standing on your uninjured leg, hold one handgrip in each hand.

Step 2: Squeeze the crutch pads between the sides of your chest and upper arms.

Do not rest your armpits on the crutch pads to support your weight.

You will support your weight on the handgrips.

Step three: Spread the crutch tips apart, and put them slightly in front of you on the floor.

This is called a tripod, or three-point stance. Now you’ll learn how to walk with crutches.

Be sure to look where you’re walking. Don’t just look down at your feet.

Also, be aware that when you walk, you will need extra room on either side of your body for your crutches.

Step one: While standing with the crutches, move the crutch tips one step in front of you.

Step two: Now put your weight onto the handgrips of your crutches. Then swing your injured leg forward.

Step three: Take a step with your uninjured leg. Make sure to land level with or just ahead of your crutches.

Step four: Move your crutch tips forward a bit to balance your weight. Repeat the steps to keep walking.

Sometimes your surgeon may allow you to put weight on your surgical leg when walking with crutches.

You may be instructed to: Touch only your toe to the ground for balance but not put any weight on it.

Put half the normal amount of weight you normaly do when you walk.

Put as much weight on your surgical leg as you can tolerate.

Or not put any weight on your leg when walking with crutches.

Be sure to follow your surgeons instructions about if and how much weight to put on your surgical leg when walking with crutches.

Next, you’ll learn how to sit down with crutches. Step one: Stand next to or in front of the chair.

Step two: Move both crutches from under your arms to just your injured side. Hold them by the handgrips with that hand.

Step three: Grab the chair’s armrest or seat with your other arm.

Step four: Extend your injured leg in front of you, and lower yourself into the seat.

And here’s how to stand up with crutches.

Step one: While seated, extend your injured leg in front of you.

Step two: Move both crutches to your injured side. Hold them by the handgrips with that hand.

Step three: Put your other hand on the chair seat or armrest.

Step four: While supporting your weight on the chair and crutches, scoot your body to the edge of the seat,

and then push yourself up to a standing position on your uninjured leg.

Step five: Put one crutch under each arm so that you are now in a tripod stance.

Now you’ll learn how to use crutches to climb stairs that have a handrail.

Step one: Begin as close to the stairs as possible. It does not matter which side the railing is on, or which leg is injured.

Step two: Move the crutch nearest the railing to the opposite arm. Hold both crutches by the handgrips with that hand.

Step three: Grab the railing with your free hand. Lean your weight on the railing and the handgrips of your crutches.

Step four: Lift your uninjured leg onto the next stair step.

Step five: Pull your crutches up with you onto the stair step. Repeat this process for each stair step.

You may also need to climb stairs that don’t have a handrail.

Step one: Begin as close to the stairs as possible. Keep one crutch under each arm.

Lean your weight on the handgrips of your crutches.

Step two: Use your uninjured leg to step or hop up onto the next stair step.

Step three: Pull your crutches up with you onto the step. Repeat this process for each stair step.

Here’s how to go down stairs with a handrail.

Step one: Begin as close to the stairs as possible. It does not matter which side the railing is on, or which leg is injured.

Step two: Move the crutch nearest the railing to the opposite arm. Hold both crutches by the handgrips with that hand.

Step three: Grab the railing with your free arm.

Step four: Place your crutches together onto the step below.

Be sure to place your crutches in the middle of the stair to help balance your weight.

Step five: Move your injured leg forward slightly.

Lean your weight on the railing and the handgrips of your crutches.

Step six: Using your uninjured leg, step down onto the next stair step. Repeat this process for each stair step.

And now, here’s how to go down stairs without a handrail.

Step one: Begin as close to the stairs as possible. Keep one crutch under each arm.

Step two: Lean forward and place your crutches into the middle of the step below you.

Lean your weight on the handgrips of your crutches. Step three: Move your injured leg forward slightly.

Step four: With your uninjured leg, step down with onto the next stair step. Repeat this process for each stair step.

Now you know how to stand, sit down, get up from a chair, walk, and go up and down stairs with crutches.

Remember to take it slow at first. Give yourself time to get used to crutches.

Support your weight on the handgrips, not the crutch pads. And ask for help when you need it.