Use of Crutches

The use of crutches after arthroscopy

The use of crutches is the most common manner in which a patient can limit weight bearing on an injured or surgically recovering lower extremity. Other less common ways are rolling walkers (for below knee injuries) and walkers.

Depending on your diagnosis, your doctor may recommend protecting the injured limb with one of a variety of limits to weight bearing, from the most extreme, non weight bearing, to the least restricting, weight bearing as tolerated. The most common reasons for the use of crutches may be from an injury (trauma), from chronic conditions including those with gradual onset, from a stress injury, of after surgical treatment. Proper mechanics while using crutches is important to preventing other pains such as low back or shoulder, wrist, and elbow pain. A physical therapist is oftentimes helpful in assessing the proper height of the crutches, as well as tips and tricks in their use, including getting up from a seated position and maneuvering in tight spaces such as a bathroom.

Preoperatively, physical therapy sessions may be helpful in planning for and training for restrictions in weight bearing after surgery. Dr. Carreira may provide you with a prescription to do so.

Please inform your doctor if you have any medical conditions that may prevent you from using crutches, such as shoulder arthritis.

The use of crutches or a walker may be significantly affected by excess weight, and should also be considered with respect to limitations in mobility and risk for falls.

Weight Bearing as Tolerated

Weight bearing as tolerated allows for complete or full weight bearing, with pain as a guide in terms of percentage of weight applied (full weight being allowed). If the limb or lower extremity is painful, regardless of whether it be from the foot or ankle or other body part, the amount and duration of time on it are limited by pain. If pain is felt, the patient is intructed to back off.

Partial Weight Bearing Use of Crutches

Non Weight Bearing Use of Crutches

Dr. Dominic Carreira has posted additional videos on his YouTube channel.