Crutches are very important for the movement of the person who has difficulty or is not able to move their lower extremities. It is a wooden or metal staff. There are basically two types of crutches, the forearm crutch which is also known as Lofstrand crutch and the axillary wooden crutch. The Lofstrand crutch can be adjusted to fit on your forearm, while the axillary crutch has a padded curved surface at the top, which you will put into your armpits. A handgrip which looks like a crossbar is held at your palms to support your body.
Before Walking With Crutches
Crutches that you will use should be at appropriate length because too much pressure on your armpits may damage your nerves and cause paralysis to your arms. Correct positioning should be an upright position. Support your weight by using the handgrips while your elbows are flexed a little bit. Walking with crutches is usually done by alternately shifting your weight from your one or two legs and to the crutches. First you need to assume the tripod stance or tripod position. This is done by putting the crutches a little bit farther away from you (about 6 inches) and on your side. This position will increase your balance. Take in mind that no weight should be borne into your armpits (it is your hands and arms that bear your weight, not your armpits).
Walking With Crutches
- The first method on how to walk with a crutch is known as the four-point gait. In this method you will position a crutch and then position on your opposite foot. For example, right crutch goes forward first, and then left foot afterwards. Repeat the steps again with the other crutch and foot, alternating the pattern.
- Three-point gait method requires you to bear all of your weight in one foot. This is usually done when there is only one damaged leg. Bear the weight on the foot which is not damaged (the damaged leg should not touch the floor). Then move your crutches forward, and move the healthy feet to where the crutches are using your good leg as a spring. You should assume the starting position after moving your leg. Repeat the steps again to move.
- The next method is the two-point gait, which will need weight bearing on both your feet. In this method each crutch moves at the same time as the opposing leg so that the movements are similar to arm movements on normal walking.
Using Crutches While On The Stairs
A modified three point gait is usually used when climbing the stairs. First you need to stand at the bottom of the stairway, and shift your weight to the crutches. After that, the healthy leg should move forward between the crutches and the stairs. Then shift your weight from the crutches to the healthy leg. And finally align your leg while you are on the stairs. To make the instructions shorter, first: weight on the crutches, second: transfer weight to healthy leg, and third: align healthy leg to the crutches.
To go down the stairs you need to put your body weight first on your good leg. After doing this shift the weight again to the crutches; And lastly when stepping down the lower stairway align your unaffected leg on the stairs with your crutches.
You should get used to crutches if you have a cast on your lower extremities. The instructions about crutch walking and climbing on stairs above are applicable to anybody.