It is important to start walking as soon as you can after your surgery. But you will need support for walking while your leg is healing.
Use crutches after a leg injury or surgery if you need only a little help with balance and stability, or if your leg is only a little weak or painful. If you are having a lot of pain, weakness, or problems with balance, ask your health care provider if a walker would be better for you than crutches.
Walking and Turning
When you walk using crutches, you will move your crutches forward instead of your weak leg. Follow these steps:
Your health care provider may give you instructions about how much weight you can put on your weak leg. These may include:
Avoid stairs until you are ready to use them. Before you can go up and down them on your feet, you can sit down and scoot up or down, one step at a time.
When you are ready to go up and down stairs on your feet, follow these steps (practice with a spotter first):
To go up:
To go down stairs:
Make sure any loose rugs, rug corners that stick up, or cords are secured to the ground so you do not trip or get tangled in them.
Remove clutter and keep your floors clean and dry.
Check the tip or tips of your crutches daily and replace them if they are worn. You can get replacement tips at your medical supply store or local drugstore.
To prevent falls, wear shoes or slippers with a rubber or other non-skid or soles. Do not wear shoes with heels or leather soles.
If you need to carry small items with you, use a small backpack, fanny pack, or shoulder bag to keep your hands free while you are walking.
Review Date: 3/8/2011
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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