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This information has been translated into other languages – see the links at the bottom of this page.
The crutches are the correct length if there is a 2- to 3-finger space between the top of the crutch pad and your armpit.
The hand grip should be at wrist level when your arm is hanging by your side. Your elbows are slightly bent as you push down on the hand grips.
Adjust the overall height of the crutch (the armpit measurement) first, then adjust the hand grip.
Support your weight with the hand grips, not the crutch pads under your armpits.
Your weight-bearing order is:
Use the method you were shown with the instructions below.
Repeat these steps to keep walking—crutches, injured leg, stronger leg.
Note: Don’t lean on the armpit pad. It can press on blood vessels and nerves.
Going up stairs
Going down stairs
Use the crutch in the hand opposite the injured leg. This gives you better support and helps you walk with more normal movements.
Only use this method if your therapist has shown you. You’ll be shown either partial weight-bearing or weight-bearing as tolerated.
Follow these steps to walk:
Repeat these steps to keep walking.
Note: If you start with your left crutch, reverse the above order.
Follow the same instructions for crutch walking to:
Your doctor or physiotherapist will tell you when you can stop using your crutches.
To see this information online and learn more, visit MyHealth.Alberta.ca/health/pages/conditions.aspx?Hwid=custom.ab_physio_crutches_inst.
Physiotherapy: How to use crutches
For 24/7 nurse advice and general health information call Health Link at 811.
Current as of: November 14, 2023
Author: Allied Health (Physiotherapy), Alberta Health Services
This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an "as is", "where is" basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use.