Crutches - instructions for safe crutch walking

Disclaimer: This fact sheet is for education purposes only. Please consult with your doctor or other health professional to make sure this information is right for your child.

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Correct fit

  • The child stands up straight and is measured from their armpit to the floor.  To establish the required length for the crutches, deduct 5cm from this measurement.
  • Adjust the handgrips so there is a slight bend at the elbow when standing in a relaxed manner.

Safety

  • Ensure wing nuts are tight.
  • Ensure crutch tips (rubber stoppers) are securely attached and not worn.

You are now ready to walk with your crutches as you have been shown. You will have been told you how much weight you can put on your sore leg.

Walking with crutches



Copyright VHI 1996
  • The top of each crutch should be 2-3 finger widths below your armpit.  Lean on your hands not your armpits; your elbows should be slightly bent.
  • You need to be standing up straight and balanced before trying to walk with your crutches.  Your feet should be slightly apart.  Your crutches need to be out to the side (10-15cm) and slightly in front of your feet.If you are able to take partial weight, put your sore leg on the ground and take some weight through it and the rest through your hands.
  • Grip the crutches firmly to your side by pressing your upper arms against your trunk.
  • Move both crutches out in front of your body.
  • Balance your weight on your hands and push down onto the crutch handle.
  • Bring your good leg up to or just past the crutches, this will move you forward.
  • Do not lean your armpits on the crutches.
  • If you are not allowed to bear weight on your sore leg, keep it off the ground.
  • If you are able to take partial weight, put your sore leg on the ground and take some weight through it and the rest through your hands.

Sitting down or standing up with crutches


Copyright VHI 1996
  • Hold the crutches in one hand, by the crutch handles.
  • Place your sore leg forward.
  • Grip the seat with the other hand.
  • Lean forward, gently bend your good leg and lower yourself onto the seat, or gently straighten your good leg and push yourself up from the seat. Do not take any weight through your sore leg if you’re not allowed to.

Going up stairs

  • Walk right up to the step.

    Copyright VHI 1996
  • Push down through your hands and place your good leg on the first step.
  • Lean on your good leg, and push down through your hands bringing your weight over the step.
  • Bring your sore leg up onto the step.
  • Bring your crutches up onto the step.

Going down stairs

Remember

  • Your weight should be on your hands, not on your armpits.
  • Ask your physiotherapist or doctor how much weight you can put on your sore leg.
  • Children learning to use crutches should be supervised by an adult, until they can use them safely.
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The Children's Hospital at Westmead
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Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick
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Hunter New England Kids Health
www.hnekidshealth.nsw.gov.au

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