My therapist wants me off 2 crutches down to 1 crutch. She told me to put the crutch on the nonaffected side. Then told me to put my affected foot out first and follow through with the crutch and unaffected foot. But I read on the internet that the crutch and affected foot should come out together, then followed by the nonaffected foot. It is my right foot that was broken. Now I am confused. I used 1 crutch all day yesterday and my ankle swelled up 3 times its size. That scared me. What is the correct way to walk with 1 crutch?
Unaffected side, in your case left, is correct. When your left foot is off the ground, weight that would be all on your right foot is now divided between left and right side.
You may need more practice or it may not be time yet for this. Also, some patients try to use the crutch under the shoulder for support, but it should be your arm and shoulder lifting your weight.
I tried it your way which makes more sense to me. That way all the weight is not on my bad foot. It did not make sense to me to put all the weight on my bad foot, that is why I thought I should check. It definitely feels better to distribute the weight between my bad foot and the crutch. My foot is in a lot of pain and very swollen today. Maybe from using the crutch the wrong way? Taking it easy today with a lot of ice. Have to go back to PT tomorrow. Thanks for your help. Know I can always count on this site.
It sounds like you got the hang of it. When using one crutch it should be used on the AFFECTED side. This way you can control the amount of weight that is placed on your foot. If it is on the unaffected side, there will always be a point when your affected foot has 100% weight. The use of one crutch is done so you can limit weight bearing to a fraction of normal (25%, 50%, etc). This can only be done if it is used on the affected side.
Interesting. I work in Physical therapy. We were taught in school that with assistive devices like single point canes or using one crutch always go on the unaffected side. Reason being it helps you with assisting you with gait to provide support to the bad leg or extremity throughout the gait cycle. Using a cane or crutch on the same side as your bad leg or extremity causes you to bear way more weight on that extremity that you don't want which in turn will cause more discomfort and pain. Double check with your PT and she confirm what I just relayed. I transitioned quite nicely from two crutches down to one the exact way with no problems. In fact I couldn't wait to get down to one crutch because using one crutch gets you back to facilitating a normal arm swing all throughout the gait cycle.
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Last edited by velvetrain; 10-05-2011 at 10:22 PM.
I agree with Velvetrain. I'm an RN and we, too, were taught when using single assist devices such as a crutch, to use it on the UNaffected side for the same reasons velvetrain explained. When I had my ankle reconstructed and was down to one crutch, my orthopedic surgeon and PT gave me the same instructions-to use the crutch on the unaffected side. It is a much easier flow of an already altered gait to use it on the unaffected side than on the affected side. Sounds like you are now using it correctly and have had some relief from the division of weight. Keep ice on it and keep it elevated!!
Well, at this point, you probably already have a rhythm going with the one crutch. But I went to PT today and as I'm also at the "go-from-2-to-1-crutch" stage, I asked my therapist to show me exactly how. I want to make sure I'm doing things the most effective way so as to minimize the recoup time (and after all isn't that what we pay them for??) Anyway, as you already know, the crutch goes on the unaffected side. But something he also told me was to squeeze the crutch in close to my body so that all the weight supporting me on that side wasn't in my hand. When I did this it made a BIG difference and I could walk more upright. Just wanted to pass along this little tip in case it helps. Good luck.