Buyer Guide

How to use Crutches Properly: Ultimate Guide to Crutches

Initially, walking with crutches feels awkward and clumsy, but don’t worry, you’ll master them soon.

Here is how to use crutches properly, to avoid falling off and get yourself hurt AGAIN!

So, here is the step-by-step procedure on using crutches properly.

  • First, stand straight holding crutches on both sides. But, remember not to touch your injured leg on the ground, it should always be in the air. And you should place crutch tips at least 5 cm away from you on both sides.
  • Then, you’ll bring forward both crutches, and place them ahead of you about a foot. 
  • After that, you’ve to move forward with your strong leg, followed by your injured leg. While you do that, you’ll sort of swing in the air, shifting your weight onto crutches, and land in between them. 
  • Repeat the same process to walk properly. 

How to use crutches on stairs?

So the best way you can use crutches on stairs is to avoid them! Heh, yeah, that’s right. Save yourself from the stairs as much as you can while you’re recovering. But, in case there is no other way, here is how to do it.

To walk up the stairs, first, step up with your fine leg, put your weight on it, and then bring the crutches up followed by your injured leg. Next, repeat the same process for your next step and you’ll safely reach where you want.

When going down the stairs, place your crutches first on the step below, Then move forward with your strong leg, put your weight on it and then bring your injured leg. And repeat the same process.

How to use crutches while walking?

Walking with crutches is a little easier than sitting or using stairs with them. So the first thing you need to do is to put your body weight on your shoulders and your strong or fine leg. Then, bring the crutches forward a bit (almost a foot), and bring yourself forward, shifting your body weight on your wrists or hand-grips—more like swinging yourself.

Then repeat the process but be sure NOT to put your weight on your injured leg and always look ahead, keeping your body posture straight. 

How to use crutches while sitting?

To sit down on the chair, stand as much closer as possible to the chair, but be sure the chair is on your back, not in front. Then, hold both crutches on the side of your injured leg, and while you do that, keep your balance equal by placing your entire body weight onto the uninjured leg or side. Once you’ve both crutches on the injured side, your one hand is free now.

Start lowering yourself slowly, and hold the armrest or the chair with your free hand. And you should be sitting down by now. To stand up, hold both crutches on the injured side, as you did when you were sitting down. Then, slowly rise up balancing your weight on your strong leg. Once you stand up fully, take one crutch on the strong side as well, and now you’re ready to walk.

Crutch Gaits

What does crutch gait mean?

Gaits means Manners or way of walking. So, crutch gait means ways of using crutch. You can use crutches in 7 different types. Each of which has an edge & dominance over other. Each have drawbacks too. Some of the main ways are defined here.

Types of Crutch Gaits

There are six types of crutch gaits people use. 

  • One Crutch Gait
  • Two-Point Gait
  • Three-Point Gait
  • Four-Point Gait
  • Swing-to Gait & Swing-through Gait
  • Stairs

Learn when and how to use different types of crutches gaits. 

Here are the six types of crutch gaits people use.

One Crutch Crutch Gait

When using one crutch gait, you’ll have to hold the crutch on your uninjured side or leg and balance your weight entirely on your strong leg and wrists. Then, slowly and simultaneously bring forward the crutch and your injured leg, followed by your strong leg.

Be sure you can bear weight on your injured leg because one crutch gait is only used when the patient has recovered a little bit. 

Two-Point Crutch Gait

Two-point gate is also for the people that can bear weight partially on both legs and have mastered the four-point gait. To use this gate, you simply have to move together your right crutch and left leg and then your left crutch with your right leg. Repeat this cycle to walk. Two points will always be touching the ground to balance your weight. 

Three-Point Crutch Gait

This gait is used commonly by the patients, and it is also known as non-weight bearing crutches walk. In this gait, first you have to bring forward both crutches all together and while doing so; your weight should be on the uninjured leg. Then, bring forward the uninjured leg and place your weight onto the crutches. And repeat this cycle to walk. 

Four-Point Crutch Gait

In four-point gait, your body weight is usually distributed on four points, i.e. your left leg, left crutch, right leg, and right crutch. You can use a four-point gait only if you can partially bear weight on your both legs. To use this gait, stand still, balance your weight on your right crutch and the two legs.

Then, slowly bring forward your left crutch about 5 to 7 inches. While you do that, balance your weight on your both crutches and the left leg. After that, move forward with the right leg. And then keep walking by repeating this cycle, but be sure NOT to hurry. This type of gait is the slowest of all, but also the safest. 

Swing-to Gait & Swing-through Gait

Swing-to gait is commonly used by both non-bearing weight patients and the patients that can partially bear weight on both legs. Here is the pattern.

If you’ve had a non-bearing weight injury, simply stand still with your strong leg and place both your crutches in front of you (about a foot). Then, swing your uninjured leg, shifting your weight onto the crutches, land where you’ve placed the crutches. (Your injured leg would be lifted in the air already, don’t worry it won’t go anywhere, it will be with you).

If you can partially bear weight on both legs, then place both crutches in front of you while your body weight will be on your legs. Then, shifting your weight onto the crutches, swing to the place where you initially placed the crutches; and keep repeating the same cycle. 

Meanwhile, Swing-through gait is a bit different. Here, instead of landing exactly where you placed the crutches, you land ahead of them, keeping them at your back, and repeating the same cycle. (Spoiler alert: it looks so weird).

Mark Patinson

January 6, 2021