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Crutches are indicated to provide more balance when the individual has an injured leg, foot or knee, but they must be used correctly to avoid pain in the wrists, shoulders and back, and to avoid falling.
The guidelines for using 1 or 2 crutches are slightly different but in any case it is recommended that the body weight should be supported on the hand and not on the armpits, to avoid damaging the nerves in this region, walking should be slowly and you should stop if you feel tired, crutches should be used on even terrain, and special care should be taken when walking on wet, damp, ice and snow surfaces.
Walking with 1 crutch
- Keep the crutch on the opposite side of the injured leg/foot;
- The 1st step is always with the injured leg/foot + the crutch at the same time, because the crutch should support the injured leg;
- Slightly tilt the cup forward and start walking as if you were going to put your weight on the injured leg, but rest some of your weight on the crutch;
- When the good leg is on the ground, put the crutch forward and take a step with the injured leg;
- Keep your eyes straight ahead and don't just look at your feet
Going up and down stairs with 1 crutch
- Hold onto the stair railing;
- Go up 1st with the good leg, which has more strength and then take the injured leg with the crutch, support your body weight on the handrail whenever you put the injured leg on the step;
- To descend, place the injured foot and crutch on the step,
- Then you should put your good leg down, one step at a time.
Walking with 2 crutches
- Place the crutches about 3 centimeters below the armpit, and the height of the handle should be at the same level as the hip;
- The 1st step should be with the good leg and while the injured leg is slightly bent,
- The following step must be performed with both crutches at the same time
Going up and down stairs with 2 crutches
To go up:
- Climb the first step with your sound leg, keeping both crutches on the bottom step;
- Place both crutches on the same step of the he althy leg while elevating the injured leg;
- Climb the next step with your sound leg, keeping both crutches on the bottom step.
To go down:
- Lift the foot off the floor, keeping the injured leg straight, forward to balance the body and reduce the risk of falling;
- Place crutches on the bottom step,
- Place the injured leg on the same step as the crutches;
- Get down with your sound leg.
You should not try to go down the stairs by placing a crutch on each step, so as not to run the risk of falling.
Other important precautions
If you think you won't be able to walk, go up or down stairs using crutches, seek help from a family member or friend to feel safer, because sometimes it can be difficult to remember all the details in the first few days, with greater risk of falling.
The time to use crutches varies according to the severity of the injury. For example, if the fracture is properly healed and the patient is able to support the weight of the body on both legs, without limping, the crutch is unnecessary. However, if the patient still needs some support to walk and to have more balance, they may need to use crutches for a longer time.