How to Use Crutches

Getting ready to walk

 Getting ready to walk with crutches
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slide 1 of 6, Getting ready to walk,
  1. Bend your elbows slightly. Press the padded top parts of the crutches against your sides, under your armpits.
  2. If you have been told not to put any weight on your injured leg, keep that leg bent and off the ground.

Walking with crutches

 Walking with crutches
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slide 2 of 6, Walking with crutches,
  1. Put both crutches about 12 inches in front of you.
  2. Put your weight on the handgrips, not on the pads under your arms. (Constant pressure against your underarms can cause numbness.) Swing your body forward. (If you have been told not to put any weight on your injured leg, keep that leg bent and off the ground.)
  3. To complete the step, put your weight on the strong leg.
  4. Move your crutches about 12 inches in front of you, and start the next step.
  5. When you're confident using the crutches, you can move the crutches and your injured leg at the same time. Then push straight down on the crutches as you step past the crutches with your strong leg, as you would in normal walking.
  6. Take small steps.
  7. Use ramps and elevators when you can.

Sitting down

 Sitting down with crutches
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slide 3 of 6, Sitting down,
  1. To sit, back up to the chair. Use one hand to hold both crutches by the handgrips, beside your injured leg. With the other hand, hold onto the seat and slowly lower yourself onto the chair.
  2. Lay the crutches on the ground near your chair. If you prop them up, they may fall over.

Getting up from a chair

 Getting up from a chair with crutches
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slide 4 of 6, Getting up from a chair,
  1. To get up from a chair, pick up the crutches and put them in one hand beside your injured leg.
  2. Put your weight on the handgrips of the crutches and on your strong leg to stand up.

Walking up stairs

 Walking up stairs with crutches
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slide 5 of 6, Walking up stairs,
  1. To go up stairs, step up with your strong leg and then bring the crutches and your injured leg to the upper step.
  2. For stairs that have handrails: Put both crutches under the arm opposite the handrail. Use the hand opposite the handrail to hold both crutches by the handgrips.
  3. Hold onto the handrail as you go up. Put your strong leg on the step first when you go up.

Walking down stairs

 Walking down stairs with crutches
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slide 6 of 6, Walking down stairs,
  1. To go down stairs, put your crutches and injured leg on the lower step.
  2. Bring your strong leg to the lower step. This saying may help you remember: "Up with the good, down with the bad."
  3. For stairs that have handrails: Put both crutches under the arm opposite the handrail. Use the hand opposite the handrail to hold both crutches by the handgrips. Hold onto the handrail as you go down. Follow the same process you use for stairs: Lead with your crutches and injured leg on the way down.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine

Current as ofJuly 7, 2017

Current as of: July 7, 2017

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine