How Do I Use Crutches?

If your foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon has said you'll need to be non-weightbearing after a foot or ankle procedure, you might consider using crutches. Below are the steps to follow to properly fit and use crutches.

Determine the correct fit.

1. Another person should be able to fit two fingers under your arm when you are standing with crutches.​

crutches-fit1

2. With your arms hanging down, the crutch handle should be at the crease of your wrist.

  crutches-fit2

If either of the above measurements are incorrect, adjust the height of the crutches.

Practice getting up from a seated position.

1. Place both crutches in the hand that's on the same side as where you had your procedure.

Getting up from a seated position

2. Push off from the chair with the uninvolved arm and use the good leg to rise up.

Getting up from a seated position

Once upright, place crutches under your arms.

Another view of getting up from a seated position:

Getting up from seated position  Getting up from seated position

Practice walking with your treated foot off the ground.

1. Move both crutches forward together.

Move both crutches forward

2. Move your body into the crutches.

Move your body into the crutches

3. Move forward on your good leg.

Move forward on your good leg

Practice going up steps.

1. Get as close to the steps as possible.

Get as close to the steps as possible

2. With the crutches on the floor, and in one motion, bend the uninvolved knee and place the foot up on the first step. Use the crutches for assistance. The affected knee and leg will be bent and should not touch the step. ​

Bend the uninvolved knee and place your foot on the first step

3. Move the crutches to the first step and repeat the process to continue up the steps.

Continue up the steps

To come down steps, just reverse the process. Place the crutches on each step first, then move the foot to the same step.

The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS) offers information on this site as an educational service. The content of FootCareMD, including text, images, and graphics, is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnoses or treatments. If you need medical advice, use the "Find a Surgeon" search to locate a foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon in your area.