Using crutches incorrectly can be a painful experience. Either you fall on your face or, if you have them adjusted wrong, you injure everything from your hands and arms to your back and neck. Here are some of the most common crutch mistakes we recommend avoiding.
1. Not Properly Adjusting Your Crutches
If you stand normally wearing your regular shoes, your crutches should go from a point on the floor two inches in front of your toes to an inch or two below your armpit. The handgrips should allow a 15 degree bend in your elbow when standing. If you find your underarms are still getting sore, you can also buy a gel crutch pad.
2. Walking Like You’re Not on Crutches
Crutches change the way you move—there’s no way around it. In the past, you might not have thought much of a slippery floor. Or a rug. Or an electric cord running across a room. Now these things can really trip you up. Just adapt and take more precautions.
3. Taking Stairs Too Quickly
Stairs and crutches are natural enemies. You may wish to avoid these altogether, but that’s not always an option. If there’s a handrail, you’ll want to use it. If not, get close to the stairs, put your weight on the crutches and lift your good foot onto the first step. Then put your weight on your good foot, move the crutches up to the same step and repeat the process.
4. Carrying Things
Carrying things while using crutches is a good way to drop them or crash to the floor yourself. We recommend using a backpack or crutch pouch.
5. Not Using the Bathroom Often Enough
Crutches slow you down, which can affect small everyday things you don’t usually think about. While on crutches it’s a good idea to use the bathroom more often than usual so you’re never too late.