Life on crutches stinks.
That fact is hard to deny, but there are some ways to get around it and enjoy life, despite your crutches!
I’ve been on crutches for six weeks now, so here are my tips and tricks for living with crutches:
- Make sure they are comfortable – Whether or not you will be using your crutches for a while, you don’t want them to hurt you — having to use them is already a pain! Take some time to adjust the height of your crutches, because the approximate height is not always accurate! For example, I’m 5’6″, but have my crutches set at 5’7″ because my boot lifts me up about an inch and a half.
- Jazz them up – Accessorizing is fun in general, but if it makes your life on crutches with easier, it’s even better! I highly recommend investing in crutch padding, especially if you’ll be using crutches for a while. The ones I use are awesome, they make such a huge difference! You can find mine on Amazon here, and there are tons of colors and patterns!
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help – It isn’t easy to use crutches. It’s tiring on your arms and good foot/leg and means that you can’t do a ton on your own. I hate asking for help and inconveniencing people, but sometimes there are things you just can’t do on your own. At the beginning of my journey with crutches, I tried doing everything on my own. Including crawling all the way across my house and up my stairs with a laptop so I wouldn’t have to ask anyone for help. That got old pretty fast. So did my constantly-bruised knees.
- Make sure you’re doing it right – This sounds stupid, but I wasn’t using crutches correctly for weeks! The doctor’s office gave me my crutches and made sure I could walk with them. My nurse forgot to tell me how to go up and down stairs, and I was too frustrated with my injury to ask how to do it. It wasn’t until about a month later when my physical therapist showed me how to use them on stairs properly. I had been trying to put my crutches up on a step, and then vault myself to meet my crutches there. This is very dangerous, but I had no idea! I’d just been crawling up my stairs at home, and using my dangerous technique in public… Definitely do a little research, you can be at risk for another injury if you’re making mistakes like I was!
- Give yourself a break – Never be afraid to take a break! Hobbling along on crutches is tiring, and it’s perfectly fine to sit down and rest for a bit. Your good foot will thank you! In addition, don’t be afraid to use a wheelchair if you need it. I can’t put weight on my foot and I wanted to explore a little city nearby, but I knew it would be a ton of walking! So we went to an organization near us, and borrowed a used wheelchair for free so I could explore. At first I viewed this as chickening out and not being tough enough, but it helped so much! I was much more comfortable, and wasn’t putting my good foot at risk for an overuse injury!
The bottom line
I am and have been there— crutches are no fun, and it’s so so hard not to resent them.
But don’t forget, your life is not over. This is just a bump in the road.
They are super annoying, but you’ll adapt to them quickly. I don’t even think to grab mine when I wake up in the morning, it’s just second nature now. And eventually, it won’t be second nature. You won’t need them forever, so for now, just look at them as your little helpers during this period.
Hope this was helpful pals,