If you do nothing else, adjust your crutches properly. The biggest difficulty people have with crutches is that they don’t adjust them properly and don’t use them properly. With proper adjustment, proper usage, and a little determination, your crutches will be your best friends.
Just because a nurse or physical therapist at the hospital adjusted them, it doesn’t mean that they are adjusted properly. Remember, they most likely never had to use crutches. I have given tips to them while they were trying to teach me post-surgery in the hospital.
Here is a good YouTube video on how to adjust and use crutches.
I want to scream every time I see someone struggling along on crutches that are not adjusted properly. It also drives me nuts to see someone struggling because he or she is not using crutches properly. In both cases, a few simple tips would make their life much easier.
Basic tips on using crutches:
- Adjust crutches to your height while standing with the crutches about 6” from the sides of your feet.
- The underarm supports should be 2” from your underarms’ pits.
- When your hands are on the grips, there should be a slight bend in your elbow.
- If you feel hunched over, they are too short.
- If the crutch tips are splayed out at the bottom and your feel as if they are tripping you, they are too long.
- Play around with the adjustment. You will know that they are properly adjusted when they feel the most comfortable to you while walking. It took me several times going back and forth before I found the perfect settings.
- Do not carry any of your weight on the underarm supports. If you have underarm pain, you are not using them correctly.
- Bear all your weight through your hands. If your hands and wrists hurt, you are using them correctly. (Unfortunately, sore hands are a reality; see the crutch-doctoring page for help.)
- Avoid wet floors whenever possible. If caught on a wet floor take small steps keeping crutches directly under you at all times.