Crutches: five-tip-list

My six week anticipated period on crutches turned into many months due to complications. Fortunately I made some modifications early on that helped get through this long period.

1-  Wear a good pair of gloves with excellent padding to protect the palms as well as the area between the forefinger and thumb. I used a pair of cycling gloves that I now use for free weights.

2-  Adjust the height of the crutches and handgrips so that the crutches permit appropriate distribution of weight and balance without leaning the armpits on top of the crutches.

3-  Wrap the hand and shoulder bars of the crutches with bubble wrap and secure with packing tape to provide extra shock absorption and prevent inevitable digging into the ribs or bones of the hands.

4-  Resist resting your armpits on the crutches, especially easy to do when you’re tired. It’s bad for the arms, shoulders, neck and spine. Instead, lift as if lengthening the spine while standing in a yoga class and try to maintain as “normal” a gait and stance as possible while using the crutches.

5-  Hardwood floors enabled me to use an adjustable-height office chair with rollers to get around without crutches. Sitting on the seat, I’d use my arms and non-casted leg to get around. While washing dishes and similar activities, I’d rest my casted leg on the seat and stand on my uninjured leg to maintain normal standing posture in the pelvis and spine. Sometimes I’d also use the chair like a high skateboard to scoot around–my casted leg resting on the seat, arms controlling the direction with the seat back, but be careful. Your main task is to keep yourself safe from further injury while maintaining as much physical balance, strength and flexibility as possible. My friend rented a cart specifically designed for this purpose post-foot surgery so see what’s available in your area. Once I was able to bear weight, I started “walking” while sitting in the chair to build my atrophied leg muscles.

(And remember: the only positive about crutches is that you can go to the head of lines!)

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