How To Use Crutches Properly – The Nebraska Medical Center


Hi, my name is Lisa and I’m a physical therapist
here at The Nebraska Medical Center. I’m here today to show you some basic tips for
how to use crutches correctly. If you have not used crutches before, the first thing
that you want to remember is they need to be fit properly for you. So I’m going to
go through a couple of basics for that. The first thing you can check on your crutches
to see if there’s a tool that will help you decide your height and where they should
be. This is kind of a reference only. So you want to get the hole set to where your height
is as a general reference point. And then you’re going to turn the crutches right-side
up and when you stand nice and tall with the crutches at your side, when you hang your
arms at side, the wrist part should line up about with your wrist so that your pad and
your wrist are even. And if you put your hands on the pad, your elbow has a slight bend in
it. The other thing to remember is that you should have a little bit of a gap between
your armpit and the top of the crutch so that there’s some space there. The first thing
you want to remember if you’re using crutches is not to lean your armpits onto the top of
the pads, because you can cause nerve damage that will affect the sensation and the strength
in your arms so that when you put your hands on the crutches, you do have a slight bend
in your elbow and a slight gap underneath your armpits of about two finger-widths. You’re going to put your affected extremity
or leg forward, both crutches will be on the side of the injured leg. You’re going to
push up from the hand grip with one hand and the chair or the bed with the opposite hand.
You’re going to lean forward, push up with both arms. Once you have your balance, you’ll
bring one crutch around to the opposite side and place both crutches beneath your armpits.
And you can see that I am using the surface behind me (the chair) a little bit, just to
get some balance when I’m transferring one crutch from one side to the other. When you go from a standing position to a
seated position, whether that be a chair or a bed behind you, you want to back all the
way up to the surface with your crutches until you feel the chair or the bed behind your
unaffected leg. Then you’re going to bring the crutch around from your unaffected side
to your injured side, bring the crutches out from underneath your armpits, reach down for
the hand grips. With the opposite hands, you’re going to reach down for the chair or the bed.
If you have a chair rest, it will be easier to reach for that. You kick the affected foot
forward and you have a seat. Nice and controlled. What you don’t want to do is just look back
to see if it’s there, bring your crutches forward and have a seat like this. Once your crutches are fit correctly and you’re
standing up, you’re going to bring one crutch around to the other side and stand up tall.
Your doctor will let you know how much weight you can put through your leg. For this video,
I’m demonstrating not putting any weight through my injured leg. You’re going to
bring your crutches forward first, swing the affected or injured leg forward first, and
then take a small step with your good leg. Crutches forward. Step. As you get better,
you can start to take longer steps. To ascend and descend stairs, take steps until
you’re as close to the staircase as you can be. If you have a railing, you want to
use the railing if it’s available. The first thing you’re going to do is take one of
the crutches out from the side that you’re using the railing on. Place both crutches
underneath the opposite side, reach for the hand railing, and you step up with your good
leg. So you’re going to put weight through both hands, step up with your left foot. And
then you bring your crutches up. And my injured leg is hanging behind me. You’re going to
push through your hands and step up again. Once you’re at the top of the staircase,
bring one crutch around again and continue walking. To descend the stairs, you’re going to bring
your crutches around to the opposite side as the railing that you’re using and take
a hold of the hand rail with the other hand. To go down, you go down with your crutches
first, then your injured leg comes forward and you put the weight through your hands
to step with your left foot, one step at a time. Always remember to follow your doctor’s
orders, as far as how much weight you can put through your injured leg. But a few key
things to remember when using crutches will help you heal and get home safely: remember
not to lean your arm pits onto the top of the crutches, remember to always stand tall,
and you’re going to move your crutches forward before you step with your uninjured side.

100 thoughts on “How To Use Crutches Properly – The Nebraska Medical Center

  1. Thanks you so much!!! I came down a hill on my long bored and stacked it pretty badly. I broke my foot and had to get a metal plate put in. The doctors who treated me didn't even show me how to use crutches so thanks 🙂

  2. I Have been in crutches for more than 5 years after a car accident, an for me canadian or european crutches are way more comfortable, but thanks for the advice.

  3. +Nebraska Medicine my calf muscle is broken…right now im using a knee immobilizer……..any other suggestions? & when i stand i feel a lot of pressure on my leg like blood ruhing through is it normal 🙁

    btw thanks this video helped alot for my movement with crutches

  4. I broke my foot in cheer being one of the flyers and now I'm on crutches, I had no idea how to use them and this video helped so much thank you!! x.

  5. Thanks so much for making this video, the one thing they forgot to teach me where I got my crutches was how to get up and down. They showed me how to walk , Which was fine. You should've seen what I was doing before this video. To get up from a seated position I was grabbing the top of the crutches and pulling myself up , something like some sort of iron -cross maneuver on the rings. Pretty funny and not very safe. Thanks again

  6. Well, I fell down the stairs almost a year ago and my knee still hurts, but yet my parents not Doctor notices my limping slightly, and I have PE therefor it hurts more than ever to run the 6 laps everyday for 6 weeks

  7. Got my crutches yesterday from the UKs finest NHS who didn't ahow me how to use them. A big thank you for this video! I now feel comfortable with them!

  8. Thank you for this video– just had foot surgery and released without the crutches being fitted or even ensuring I knew how to use them!! Looking forward to receiving and venting on the patient survey.
    Regardless, I feel so much better now that I know how to get around.

  9. I fractured my foot during my solo at a dance competition and I was put in a boot and crutches and I've been using them for 4 days now and the crutches are almost unbearable i don't know why they are hurting my arms so bad I tried everything in this video but it's continuing to hurt. Any advice?

  10. Thank you for taking the time to submit this video. I broke my pelvis last night and trust me, it is horrible. I cannot put any weight on my left leg. I just had multi fusion ACDF surgery in November and am fully disabled by several other chronic health issues so things are challenging as it. It was a freak fall……. this video really helped me (with my husband watching with me and coaching). Thank you again. Very good video!

  11. If you use the other style of crutches, and not the ones that go under the armpits, this video is a must see. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXJsSV3W4vs

  12. i am an active person so using crutches really set me back… but this video is gonna help me move around much safer. thnx!

  13. I don't have crutches but I may be getting them on Saturday so this video was very helpful in telling me what I'll need to do if I get them. (fell and landed on my knee badly. can't actually walk if any1 is wondering )

  14. I have adjusted my crutches to my height but the grip is not comfortable, how would I adjust the actual wrist grip?

    Just fractured my ankle two days ago and I'm new to crutches.

  15. I am a long time crutch user (neurological disability) and I disagree with trying to hang on to both crutches with one hand as demonstrated on the stairs. This is awkward and anyone with other than large hands will have difficulty managing both at once–not to mention the amount of space taken up under the arm. I understand the rationale–the handrail is a solid support that isn't going anywhere and fully capable of bearing your full weight, but it won't help if you wind up losing one or both crutches in the transfer or while trying to hang onto both of them. Worse, you can easily lose your balance while trying to juggle both crutches at once. I have always simply used both crutches when ascending or descending stairs. As long as you don't have other balance issues, and do everything else as shown you should be fine.

  16. I want to stress–never never ever support your weight on the top of the crutch. The nerve damage that can easily result from doing that is no joke. You could end up with permanent disability in one or both arms and hands. I feel that I have to say this because I see SO many people doing this, and not just when they are standing around either. I've even seen this when the crutches are properly adjusted–you can tell because the crutch user is leaning too far down or forward.–basically hanging on or over the top of the crutch. If your 'pits are sore after using your crutches or if you have numbness or tingling in your arm or hand then you are probably using your crutches incorrectly.

  17. My crutches caused so much pain and I tried using padding and every thing. nothing worked but with the help of this.video I realised that my hand pad was 2 low and by correcting that I have had no further discomfort wish I knew that 3 weeks ago. thanks for all the help

  18. My crutches caused so much pain and I tried using padding and every thing. nothing worked but with the help of this.video I realised that my hand pad was 2 low and by correcting that I have had no further discomfort wish I knew that 3 weeks ago. thanks for all the help

  19. Hey, I just injured my knee and my leg really hurts, but only when my knee is in the air… and when I put my feet down it's all good and when I go down the stairs, sitting down I scream like an idiot that saw a bug or something… what should I do?

  20. They keep slipping out of my arm I'm doing everything right. Maybe to much force with my arms or to big of steps?

  21. I just had surgery and was told no weight bearing. I was given no crutches or instruction. This video is wonderful!!! Thanks

  22. Thank you! I fractured my Left Patella and I'm a big person myself so I always struggled to go up the stairs n down the stairs. I'm currently at my second X-Ray Appointment as I type this. I will use this method when I get home and go up the stairs.

  23. Always thought it was strange that people say these hurt to use. Ive used them many times and if anything I thought they were kinda fun lol. OH AND BTW, Those crutches are literally 500$ lol. Its like two dollars worth of metal, rubber and plastic.

  24. I have been using crutches for a month now. And my right elbow is starting to hurt, I am not sure if it is because i am somehow bending my arms a weird way? Am I not supposed to push up with my arms? Or?

  25. Dislocated my knee yesterday and it's the first time I use crutches. Made all the mistakes mentioned in the video and my armpits hurt ಥ_ಥ. This video makes my one-leg life much less miserable. Thank you. ( ´∀`)

  26. This was were helpful. I just sprained my ankle pretty badly and I need crutches to walk. I have never gotten an injury this bad before and I've never used crutches either.

  27. I just got crutches from falling and I have a difficult time and using am I guess because I'm not used to using them.
    I didn't break my leg but the arthritis is so painful..🤔

  28. I twisted my ankle in my graduation march…. and the graduation party or event was before my actual graduation "stupid college" .. but the nice thing i can stay home and work for my senior project at home 🙂

  29. I've never had to use crutches in my life. But 2 weeks ago I hurt my foot. Turns out its sprained, and it's terrible to walk on

  30. What do you do with crutches when both legs and arms are broken? (Na! Just kidding!) I just broke my foot. Thanks for the great video instructions. She is cute also.

  31. Thanks for the great info! I’m waiting for knee surgery and the cane isn’t doing me much good. I’m picking up crutches today and now know what to do.

  32. This was extremely helpful! My hand pieces were too far down on my crutches which was causing them to go into my armpit. I bumped up the hand pieces and everything feels much better! I also was having trouble figuring out how to do stairs, so I will implement what this video had said. Thanks for the demonstration!

  33. Thanks so much for teaching me. I just had a major osteotomy and the hospital didn't teach me how to do it. This video saved my bacon. Thanks again!

  34. yesterday i hurt my foot coming down from my bunk bed i went to the er and i had a sprain and i had to use cruches (wich ive never done) thatnks for the help this helped a lot

  35. I am so glad I found this video. My daughter fractured her foot and the woman that was supposed to teach her how to use the crutches didn't.. Now teaching her how to use crutches. Thanks

  36. My knee was dislocated and i have it in placs now. But it was in the wrong place. When i walk. The embriotic tissue makes my knee hurt bsd. (How can i use crutches without that hurting?

  37. The nurse gave up on me and crutches and brought me out with a wheelchair.. now I have to learn myself.

  38. ThaNk YOU SO MUCH THIS IS GONNA HELP ME A L OT MY CAMPUS IS HUGE AND I THOUGHT I WAS GONNA BUST MY ASS TRYING TO GET TO MY CLASSES BLESS YOU

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