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How to Use Crutches Correctly - Ask Doctor Jo



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Hey everybody, it's Doctor Jo, and today I'm gonna show you how to use some crutches.

I had hip surgery recently, so I've had the pleasure of hobbling around on crutches for

several weeks now. And sometimes they're a little harder than you think they are. But

let me start off with showing you how to get the right height for you. When you first get

your crutches, the buttons here, which you can't see cause they've got some cool Gamecocks

over them, actually have heights. So it starts off, you know, 5'3", 5'4", 5'5", 5'6" and

it's pretty accurate. But what you really want to do, the important part is these should

not actually be in your armpit. I think people get confused with that a little bit. Now sometimes

you can lean on them if you're talking to somebody, but while you're actually walking

with the crutches, you don't want them pressing there because you have an axillary nerve that

can actually get compressed if you put a lot of pressure on it for a long period of them,

and then you're gonna have arm issues after that. So you want to be able to get about

2 fingers in between the top of the crutch and your armpit. So when you're standing,

if you can do that, that's about where you want it. You want to have just a slight bend

in your elbows as well cause you can move the handles, but it doesn't have to be a big

bend, just a slight bend because when your walking with the crutches, you don't want

them super close, you want them out to the side just a little bit cause that's gonna

give you some more stability while you're walking. So once you have all of that in place,

you get to the walking part, and there's different types of weight bearing for people when their

doing crutches. You're non-weight bearing. You can be toe-touch weight bearing which

is about 20% of your body weight. You can be partial weight bearing, and then weight

bearing as tolerated where it's just kind of help give you a little bit of balance.

So the first one I'm gonna show you is non-weight bearing. And then we'll kind of progress from

there. The first one is non-weigh bearing. So if you're not allowed to put any weight

on your leg, if you're kind of holding it up in the air, the crutches are gonna take

the place of your right leg. So if my right leg was gonna go forward, that's when my crutches

go forward. So you just bring them forward, and kind of hop through. You want to make

sure you're not going far because you're gonna lose your balance. So just almost like a normal

step when you go through. And you can also see my crutches are a little bit wider than

my body because that gives you more stability. So you don't want them close, you want them

our just a little bit again to give you that support and balance. The next one would be

a toe-touch weight bearing which, depending on your surgery, is either really just your

toes are touching down, or your foot is actually flat on the ground, but toe-touch is about

20% of your body weight. So some people will tell you imagine that there's egg shells underneath

your foot, and you don't want to crush them. So you're really just placing your foot down,

but again the crutches are taking on all the weight. So the crutches are gonna follow that

foot the whole time and take the place of actually putting the weight on that leg. So

when my right leg goes forward, the crutches go forward. And I'm really just placing that

foot down. I'm not really putting any weight on it. But I'm just placing it gently on the

ground. Again, not taking a big step, just trying to take a normal step while you're

walking. After you progress a little bit and you don't need to do the toe touch anymore,

and you're partial weight bearing, or maybe weight bearing as tolerated, but you still

need a little bit of assistance, then you can go down to one crutch. When you go down

to the one crutch, you want to put it on the opposite side, so it's gonna follow the right

side wherever it goes. So kind of like a cane, it's there to give you that support. So as

my right goes forward, the crutch goes forward, and I'm just stepping through. Not leaning

over onto the crutch, you're not leaning and just walking like this, you're still trying

to be pretty upright, and that crutch is just giving you a little bit of support. Getting

closer to being able to walk without it. So there you have it. That's how to walk with

come crutches. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments section. If you'd

like to check out some other videos, go to AskDoctorJo.com If you like the video, click

the like button. And remember, be safe, have fun, and I hope you feel better soon.