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Using Crutches: Weight-Bearing

Use a weight-bearing gait when you are told that you can put some weight on your leg as it heals. Depending on your arm strength and balance, you can either “step to” or “step through.” 

Balanced standing (tripod) position

Use this position when you start or end a movement. or when you’re standing for any length of time. Move your crutches in front of you about 12 inches. Find your balance. Don't rest your armpits on the pads.

Weight-bearing: Step to

3 steps in using crutches with Step To (Weight Bearing).

  • Start in a balanced standing (tripod) position.

  • Step forward with your affected foot.

  • Land lightly between your crutches.

  • Squeeze the pads against the sides of your chest.

  • Support your weight with your hands and your affected leg.

  • Press down on the handgrips.

  • Lift your unaffected foot and step to the crutches.

  • Land on your unaffected foot, between your crutches. Keep the knee slightly bent.

  • Reach forward and out with the crutches to begin the next step.

Weight-bearing: Step through

3 steps in using crutches with Step Through (Weight Bearing).

  • Start in a balanced standing (tripod) position.

  • Step forward with your affected foot.

  • Land lightly between your crutches.

  • Squeeze the pads against the sides of your chest.

  • Support your weight with your hands and your affected leg.

  • Press down on the handgrips.

  • Lift the unaffected foot and step forward through the crutches.

  • Land on the unaffected foot slightly in front of the toe of the other foot. Keep the knee slightly bent.

  • Reach forward and out with the crutches to begin the next step.

 

You may be told to use one of the gaits listed below:

  • Toe-touch or touch-down gait: Lightly touch your affected foot to the floor, and let your crutches bear most of the weight. Imagine that you’re stepping on a ripe tomato: Step lightly, so it won’t be squashed.

  • Partial weight-bearing gait: Put some weight on your affected foot as you walk. Your healthcare provider will tell you how much.

  • Full weight-bearing gait: Put most of your weight on your affected foot. Place only a little weight on your crutches.

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