Take a deep breath if you’ve been prescribed to use crutches (generally the underarm crutches) after an ankle fracture. You may have got intimidated by seeing someone struggling to adjust the crutches. Relax; crutches are generally easier to get along with. You can even learn to use it on your own.
All you need is a high-quality pair of crutches and the right set of instructions. We’ve come in touch with some top orthopedics and physical therapists who train people with broken ankles to walk on crutches.
This article accumulates all their suggestions to guide the sufferers to walk on crutches correctly. Proper use of the crutches won’t only assist you in walking but will also boost your recovery and decrease the discomfort caused by the broken ankle. So let’s start!
How Crutches Help Walking with Broken Ankle
You have weak ankle bones and an unstable gait with an injured ankle. A crutch is a mobility aid that reduces the weight load on your injured leg muscles and broadens the support base to improve your stability and balance while walking.
The crutches allow you to take flexible and even gaits helping you to maneuver anywhere you to complete a portion of your daily activities. It can even help you climb stairs or reach tight places you can’t go with other mobility aids. Crutches assist your vertical movement and also help reduce the recovery time.
How to Walk on Crutches with Broken Ankle
Anyone with a sprained ankle or broken ankle can use crutches unless there’s severe pain or fractures. Underarm crutches used in pairs generally make the best choice for an injured foot. Using the crutches requires upper body strength and improved balance. So you need a proper set of instructions, and some may even need the training to walk using crutches.
It may sound not very easy, but once your start practicing these, you’ll know it’s even easier than you think. So let’s find out how someone with a broken ankle walks or should walk on underarm crutches.
- You can’t put weight on your injured leg if you’ve got a broken ankle and plaster cast molded around it. For such non-weight-bearing injuries, you’ve to keep the foot off the ground using crutches.
- While choosing the crutches for your injury, make sure you get a comfortable pair of crutches. These should include padding at the top and the handlebars. Also, check if they’ve got undamaged rubber tips, and make sure to replace them whenever they’re worn.
- To begin using the crutches, you first have to adjust them to your height. The top should be 2 to 3 fingers below your armpit. The handle is generally placed at the wrist level with the arm straight down.
- If you’re standing, you can rest your injured leg on the ground. But while starting to walk, you’ve to keep the legs off the ground and place both your crutches in front so that the legs and crutches make a tripod position together.
- As you’re set to walk, slowly shift the weight to the healthy leg and move the crutches to a point where you can maintain your balance. Then place the healthy leg at a point ahead where you can easily balance. Now shift the weight back to the leg and move the crutches forward again to repeat the movements until you reach your destination.
A Few More Tips for Walking On Crutches with Broken Ankle
Using crutches isn’t difficult; however, you may struggle with the comfort factor. But the good thing is your body acclimates to its use over time. You can still make it more comfortable with a padded or cushioned underarm pad and handgrip.
There are a few more tips that can make walking on crutches more effective, some of which include:
- Don’t support yourself on the armpits; instead, use the handgrips to support.
- While standing, plant the crutches around 8 to 10 inches in front of you.
- Don’t carry things while walking on crutches.
- Keep your crutches close to the body, and don’t try to cover too much distance with each step. Also, be aware of moving too quickly.
- Take assistance from someone while using the crutches on the stairs.
- If you’re using a single crutch, always place the crutch under the arm opposite the injured leg. Move the crutch and the weaker leg ahead simultaneously while taking a step with the stronger leg.
- Wear compression socks, flat-bottom shoes, or a pair of the walking boot while walking on the crutches
Although many modern mobility aids are available, like the hands-free crutch or knee scooter, the conventional crutch still makes the best choice for people with broken ankles. Walking on crutches helps your ankles do some exercise, which can boost your recovery after ankle surgery.
Consult your fracture clinic or physical therapist to know how long you should avoid putting weight on the injured leg. Generally, it’s around six weeks, and during this time, you should use crutches to move anywhere. You can continue many of your regular activities by following the instructions in the article. So your life won’t be stuck even with the ankle cast or ankle braces. If you still have queries, you can visit AAOS Orthoinfo for more information.
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