Walking aids are an important tool for patients recovering from a break to a bone in their leg or foot. Using crutches, a cane or a walker redistributes weight and improve the patient’s ability to perform their daily activities safely. In the early stages of recovery, a friend or family member may need to assist you with your walking aid. Returning to your everyday life may seem impossible at first, but with a little practice, it is easy to get back to normal using your walking aid.
Creating An Accessible Home
Certain modifications can make your home safer and make it easier for you to avoid slips.
- Remove rugs and cords from areas you’ll walk through
- Walk in well-lit areas of the house to avoid accidental falls
- Create clear walkways throughout the house
- Remain hands-free as you walk
- Use non-slip mats in the bathroom
It’s important to practice proper positioning and stand straight as you walk. The hand grips should be even with the hip line. Your elbows should also be slightly bent. Your weight should rest on your hands, not the underarm supports. As you walk, lean forward slightly, and put your crutches about one foot in front of you. As you step, pretend as if you were going to use the injured leg/foot but instead shift your weight with the crutches.
Canes are useful for patients that have difficulty balancing. The top of the cane should extend to the crease in the wrist for proper gait. The elbow should be slightly bent as well as you hold the cane. Hold the hand on the opposite side of the leg that needs support. Put your cane one small stride ahead of you as you walk.
After a total knee or hip replacement, many doctors recommend a pickup walker because they provide support and stability. They help you keep all or some of the weight off the lower body as you take steps. The arms can support a large portion of your body weight as you walk. When you stand up the top of the walker should reach the crease in your wrist. Put your walker on the ground one step ahead of you as you walk with all of the legs on the ground. Don’t step all the way to the front but instead push straight down on the handgrips as you bring your good leg up, so it’s even with your injured leg.