At some point during orthopedic surgery recovery, you will likely need to use a support device to help you get around safely while allowing yourself to heal. The last thing you want to do is make the initial injury worse or create a new one. Here are some helpful tips to properly use crutches, canes, and walkers.

How to Properly Use Crutches

Positioning is the biggest trick with crutches. To begin with, you need to make sure you get crutches that are the right height for you. Make sure the handgrips are even with the top of your hip line. The tops should be an inch or two below your armpits if you stand up straight. 

It’s important to rest your weight through your hands on the handgrips. Don’t rest on your armpits. It will start hurting quickly, and you may break blood vessels as it’s a sensitive location, giving you a new problem beyond orthopedic surgery recovery. Walk by leaning forward slightly and placing the crutch about a foot ahead of you. Push off on the side with the injured leg, and finish each step with the healthy one.

The Best Way to Use a Cane

Canes are easier to use than crutches but are designed as a support device when only a little assistance is needed. The top of the cane should reach the middle of your waist.  Have your arms comfortably rest at your sides in standing position and the handle should fall at the wrist crease which will allow for approximately 20 degree elbow bend.  Bend your arm as you move it, and set it up about a pace ahead of you. The cane is on the strong side, so advance forward with it to take pressure/weight off the injured leg.

Tips for Using a Walker

A walker is a middle option to assist with orthopedic surgery recovery between a cane and crutches. It should be about the same height as a cane. It’s easy to hunch over when using a walker. Do your best to stand up straight. Place the walker a pace ahead of yourself, and then pull your legs to the halfway point. Don’t try to get to the front.