If you find yourself recovering from foot and ankle surgery or from a foot and ankle injury, your podiatrist may suggest that you spend a period of time on crutches. This is often an effective way to keep you from putting weight on the wounded area while walking, ensuring that it has time to heal properly.
Typically made of wood or aluminum, crutches are not one-size-fits-all. The first thing your doctor will do is to work with you to be sure that your crutches fit you properly. The total length should equal the distance from your armpit to about six inches in front of your shoe. The tops of the crutches should sit about one to two inches below the armpit when your shoulders are relaxed and the handgrip will be placed so that you can reach it with your elbow bent.
Next, your doctor will teach you to walk with your crutches:
First, shift your weight to your uninjured leg.
Plant the crutches a few inches in front of you.
Shift your weight from your unhurt leg to your arms, swinging your body through the crutches and allowing them to support your weight.
Plant your unhurt leg in front.
When you feel stable, shift your weight back to that same leg.
Move the crutches and repeat.
Remember: don’t take stairs or use an escalator with crutches, especially if you don’t have a friend or family member hand to act as “spotter.” Use the elevator for safety.
Any time you have a concern about your foot health, the first step is to see your foot doctor. With years of specialized training and experience, a board-certified podiatrist like Dr. James M. McKee is the best-qualified medical professional to diagnose and treat any illness or injury of the feet, ankles, or lower legs.